Cypress Hill Sounds Off Before a Loco Scout Bar Show
Amidst the cacophony of talented rappers and rap crews that have emerged from the West Coast, one group has been breaking barriers with a distinct style and voice for more than 20 years. Cypress Hill, with their hyper-realistic street poetry and smoke-filled party records, continues to speak to the weedheads, the Lowriders, the Latinos, and anyone else within earshot of their rhymes.
Photos by Marco Torres
Rocks Off spoke with MCs B-Real and Sen Dog on a surprisingly smoke-free tour bus prior to their show Monday night at Scout Bar.
RO: Good evening, sirs. Throughout your career, your sound has been constantly evolving, from straight-up OG West Coast rap, to rock, psychedelic/hardcore, Latin and now dubstep. Can you explain why this is necessary for your success?
Sen Dog: We don't worry too much about labels or formats. We are who we are as a band. We try our best to cross lines and transcend with the music and rhymes. At the end of the day, we're hip-hoppers... and always will be.
B-Real: We can't afford to discriminate on our music anymore. It's not the '90s when everyone pretty much stayed in their clique or circle and did the same thing over and over. Nowadays, you need to listen to a lot of different stuff and stay current.
RO: Is that how the Cypress x Rusko collaboration came about?
BR: I've always been a fan of EDM. I would always showcase some on my Web site www.BReal.tv. Over the years, we would get requests or receive lots of submissions, and Rusko just happened to be behind some of my favorite tracks.
So I ran it by Sen and sold it to him, told him we could really vibe out to this dubstep shit. Then we all got together and one song became two, then four, then six. I'm proud of the work we did with Rusko, he's a good dude.
RO: You guys took a long break between 2003's Til Death Do Us Part and Rise Up in 2010. That's a long time for anyone, especially for rap. What caused that break and did you benefit from it in any way?
SD: Our run with Sony Music pretty much came to an end. Neither party has any interest to continue the relationship. We also changed management during that time, and dealt with a few legal issues over some samples. I'm not gonna lie, I was worried, but the adversity made us stronger.
BR: We also continued to tour, and that way the fans were never totally without our music. There is a lot of competition in this business, so you can't be out of sight for too long. We did our thing on the road, took care of some business, and then came back strong with Rise Up.
RO: The Lowrider culture has always been a big part of your fan base, yet it seems to be at a standstill or on the decline. Do you think that demographic will ever die; and what is your dream car/vehicle?
BR: You can never stop Lowriding. The spirit of the Lowrider will never be played out. The economic downtown makes things like parts and transportation more difficult, but nothing beats riding slow in a nice old car. It's a piece of the American culture. My dream car is a '57 Bel Air.
SD: I'm a chopper guy, so a "47 Harley Panhead, dropped with ape hangers, that would be my choice.