Review: Cypress Hill
With over 18 Million albums sold worldwide and into their twenty-second year, Cypress Hill have stood the test of time to become icons in the world of Hip-Hop. Now in 2010, on the back of their new album ‘Rise Up’, Cypress Hill bring their legendary live show to Australia for a national tour, headlining the Coaster Festival at Gosford, on the NSW Central Coast.
Performing the second date on their Aussie tour at the Enmore in Sydney on Friday night (September 24), fans were expecting to see the cream-of-the-crop when it comes to west-coast Hip-Hop and were definitely not disappointed.
On stage surrounded by a wall of drums, was renowned percussionist Eric Bobo, who’s toured and recorded with everyone from The Smashing Pumpkins to The Beastie Boys. To his right on the wheels-of-steel was DJ Hitman Julio scratching up a storm and of course the larger than life front-men MCs B-Real and Sen Dog.
After the initial excitement of bouncing along to the classic hits ‘Insane In The Brain’ and ‘How I could Just Kill A Man’, the sound took a slow down turn to the mellow ‘herbal’ inspired grooves that have given Cypress their signature sound. As B-Real lights up on stage and spits rhymes of smoke that fills the air, in comes the heavy bass riff with ‘I Wanna Get High’ followed by ‘Hits From The Bong’.
But it wasn’t all weed, gangs, guns and girls. Like all great Hip-Hop groups from the early nineties the guys have their political and social messages, with B-Real pausing to talk about police brutality in L.A. and asking the audience to raise their middle finger in the air before dropping into ‘Pigs’ the anti-police track off their self-titled debut album, a song which had me wondering whether the small army of police and sniffer dogs outside earlier had stuck around to hear.
The political sounds have only gotten louder since that album from 1991, with the group performing ‘Rise Up’ off their latest album of the same name and featuring Tom Morello from the politically charged group Rage Against the Machine.
Another new offering from the crew was ‘Armada Latina’, a huge US Summer hit single, featuring Marc Antony and Pitbull. This is a song that’s not only about playing dominoes, hot weather and beer, but according to B-Real served as an anthem of Latin American unity in a time when immigration issues in the US are being fiercely debated.
The show covered a range of styles that make up the distinct sound of West-Coast Rap, from the dark LA gangsta beats to Hitman Julio dropping in some early classic electro Hip-Hop, coupled with an incredible battle between himself and Eric Bobo displaying some amazing Latin drumming.
Even after delivering some of the biggest hits spanning their 20 year career, the crew saved their most recent hit, the more rock flavoured ‘Rap Superstar’ for the encore, surprisingly even after all the other classic tracks it was the one song that drove the crowd completely wild.
In summary these guys didn’t disappoint, in fact they well and truly cemented themselves as unequivocal revolutionaries in a genre that is full of flash-in-the pan wannabe’s.
Check out the guys, doin' what they do in the video below.