When it all goes down in the history books and they talk of hip hop in the same way they talk of jazz and Elvis shaking his hips today, it's possible that talented groups like Cypress Hill and the astounding contributions to the game through their first two records might easily be overlooked. The truth be known, though, that Cypress Hill was probably the most highly-discounted but incredibly sick crews of the early 90s. Peep those bucket hats, yo. They're like the Kinks of hip hop. "Lola" and "Apeman" were dope, but you never hear them anymore. You hardly hear anyone even mention the Kinks anymore. Same goes for Cypress. Led by Mellow Man Ace's brother Sen Dog of Cuban decent and east LA's very own B-Real of Mexican decent, Cypress was the first (and only, some may argue) Latino powerhouse in hip hop. Their music blended blunted imagery, calculated acts of violence, humor and the Latino heritage under the watchful and infinitely funky guidance of classic producer DJ Muggs who was in the best form of his career. Their first record was a proclamation that the new style had arrived. Led by tracks like "How I Could Just Kill a Man" and "Hand on the Pump" and lesser-played "Light Another" and "Hole in the Head," the self-titled effort was a spectrum of perfectly looped funk breaks laced with the shenanigans of B-Real and Sen Dog and a tidal wave of horns and wah-wahs. And what the self-titled record achieved in putting Cypress on the map, Black Sunday would take them off the map and into the stratosphere. Shamefully, it would be one of the most unlistenable track on the album that would vault its success, "Insane in the Brain," but nonetheless, it provided fuel for an album that would only follow the acclaim of their self-titled debut. It took the tasty recipe for the first album and doubled every ingredient making a poignant and powerful musical blast. When B-Real and Sen spat about weed, it was less a party and more a religion. When they were violent, it was less the jokery and more believable. Black Sunday was darker, louder and lower.
The albums that would follow (specifically III and IV) were strong efforts, but came no where close to the achievements of their first two records. There's no touching the first two albums. I've been jamming them endlessly for the last two weeks and decided that they would make the perfect platform for my next mix. I found about thirty breaks used to make the material on the first two records and have begun work on a mix that will seamlessly mix the roots and the results off of Cypress Hill's first two records. Yeah, Kool and the Gang is in there. So is Parliament, Chuck Cornish, Five Stairsteps, Willie Hutch, James Brown, Black Sabbath, the Music Machine, Pazant Brothers and, of course, Cypress Hill. I'll keep you posted.
Sox are tied for first place with the Tampa Bay Strays. Let's see if we can restore order in the East and pull this thing out.