Cypress Hill Back In Black

It seems like Cypress Hill have been around forever, making kick ass hip hop music, pushing the sonic boundaries and bending genres, and that certainly has been the case since they hit our headphones in 1991. ‘Back In Black‘ is the groups 10th studio album and having been produced by Black Milk, it takes a decided turn back to their original roots, with that more traditional hip hop soundscape – and the Hill may never have sounded better.

B-Real & Sen Dog continue to rip the microphone with an enigmatic and energetic force, while DJ Muggs and Eric Bobo hold it down on the cuts, percussion and other trimmings over the Detroit producers dark and dusty audio canvas. The result is a cohesive and interesting hip hop album, highlighted by the iconic ‘green’ propaganda and pro-marijuana messaging, with the vibe of those early 90’s joints that are staples in any hip hop heads library.

This is the return of The Hill, the wait’s over“…..

Takeover‘ is a killer way to start off proceedings, it’s a big drum having, dusty, joint that sees the crew stamp their authority not just on this new album, but on their legacy in this game. The Black Milk influence is apparent when the boom bap hits heavy on ‘Open Ya Mind‘, a funky, almost ‘carnival’ sounding green theme! Demrick, a frequent collaborator with Cypress Hill, makes his mark on ‘Certified‘ which is an ode to their legacy and the work they’ve put in to become such an influential staple in the hip hop scene over the past three decades.

Thumping drums, menacing synth and a hypnotic chorus has ‘Bye Bye‘ on repeat! Dizzy Wright joins B-Real and co, with the meaty production from Black Milk for one of the hardest and heaviest moments of the album. The lighter clicks and you know we are in for a weed-anthem and Cypress Hill use the cult-classic hook from 2Pac / Makavelli’s ‘Hail Mary‘ to deliver ‘Come With Me‘, a reggae-infused ode to the Devil’s lettuce. ‘The Original‘ uses a wailing guitar to add some musical highlights to this boom bap tribute to keeping it real / original and interweaving some LA flavour throughout. Black Milk almost delivers a darker ‘Neptunes’ style number for Cypress Hill to flow over on ‘Hit ‘Em‘ and it almost acts as a revisiting of the Temples of Boom with it’s instrumental.

Break Of Dawn‘ has a real energy to it, as B-Real tells the tale of Cypress Hill’s journey to date and creates a ‘we won’t stop, we don’t stop’ message that is as authentic as it is apparent. ‘Champion Sound’ is the penultimate track, but it was also the first single and taste of the new album when it dropped a while back. Revisiting it as part of the album though it hits a little different and showcases the bridging of all musical styles experienced throughout their discography. Finally, ‘The Ride‘ closes out this musical experience with a more subdued, wound back vibe. B-Real’s vocals are hypnotic, the beat is wavy and it’s a fantastic way to transition the listener out of the album.

Bangers: Bye Bye, Takeover, Champion Sound, The Original, Certified.

Score: 9 / 10. This is brilliantly executed and balanced. Black Milk on production has allowed Cypress Hill to get back to exploring that more traditional boom bap sound without losing their originality and ability to push the musical boundaries. ‘Back In Black‘ might be the best and most relentless album since Temples of Boom, and while it hasn’t simply circled back to recreate that ‘golden era’ sound, it has taken the best parts of all releases and packaged it into one unique and enjoyable listening experience.

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About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!