Interview: Cypress Hill - The Hill Is Alive
CYPRESS HILL HAVE BLAZED A TRAIL AT THE FOREFRONT OF WEST COAST USA HIP HOP THROUGH FOUR PRESIDENTS SO FAR. WHILE ON THE ROAD TO OMAHA, NEBRASKA TOURING THEIR 8TH STUDIO LP RISE UP, ERIC “BOBO” CORREA ASSURES RIP NICHOLSON THAT FANS CAN EXPECT HIM TO BE BLAZING ON STAGE WITH B-REAL, SEN DOG AND WESTSIDE RADIO’S JULIO G - FOUR OF THE HARDEST VATOS TO EVER FUCK WITH RAP MUSIC.
Cypress Hill interviewed for Rip2Shredz // Street Press Australia // Hiphop.sh
@ 09.15 AEST - 13th August, 2010
From South LA’s Azalea City, DVX morphed into Cypress Hill after Senen “Sen Dog” Reyes’ brother broke away to be Mellow Man Ace, leaving two juxtaposed Cubano MCs – the baritone of Sen Dog and the unmistakable nasal drawl of Louis “B-Real” Freese over beats by DJ Muggs (who would produce the first seven Cypress Hill albums). A 1989 recording sent Cypress Hill to Columbia Records, where where they laid out their 1991 debut LP – the calm before 1993’s Black Sunday storm. This did big things not only for the Hill (going triple platinum) but for hip hop across the board.
At Woodstock ‘94, percussionist Correa (of Beastie Boys’ ‘Bobo On The Corner’ fame) was added and the quartet went on to break Soundscan records and have both albums sitting inside Billboard 200’s Top Ten. Cypress Hill became immortalised beyond hip hop by the monster hits ‘Insane In The Brain’, ‘Hits From The Bong’, ‘How I Could Just Kill A Man,’ verging into the realms of rock with the anthemic ‘Rock Superstar’ – widening hip hop’s peripheral while strengthening their live rep. From Lollapalooza ‘92, The Simpsons’ Homerpalaooza ‘96, Glastonbury 2000 and back to Lollapalooza 18 years later, the Latin lowriders never slowed their roll once.
By way of introduction to Rise Up, last year’s Hip Hop Honors on US television network VH1 had southern rock-child Kid Rock show them to their place in history. Certified legends in the game, Cypress Hill were acknowledged for their part in shaping hip hop and the west coast signature. “The legendary status is something that we don’t really think on,” Correa states. “We don’t look at ourselves as legends. That’s not our focus. That’s really for the fans and the critics to decide. We just know that we have a standard, to make good music that we are happy with and what our fans are happy with.”
Separating themselves from such a status saves them from being over the hill they’ve owned for so long and given that Cypress Hill are nearing long service leave, Rise Up proves their intent to keep rocking. Correa co-signs, declaring that they’re definitely not ready to take the gold watch yet. “No, no, no, not at all. We feel re-energised and re-inspired so to speak and rejuvenated – however you wanna put it. I think that comes out through the album and the work that we did with it, you know. And our chemistry with each other as well. Everything played its part.
“There was no struggle as far as getting the record made. There wasn’t anything stopping us putting out good music, no preconceived concept,” Correa adds. “We just wanted to make sure that we put out an album that goes as hard as we do our shows. That was the only thing that we wanted.”
Six years have passed since their last LP Till Death Do Us Part dropped. In 2009 both Sen Dog and B-Real released solo ventures, Diary Of A Mad Dog and Smoke N Mirrors respectively and B-Real lends himself to the Serial Killaz outfit alongside Xzibit and Young De. Correa features in Sol Invicto with Richie Londres and Deftones’ Stephen Carpenter and also London rap outfit Cultura Londres Proyecto, and is currently shipping the Bobo Meets Rhettmatic mixtape into shops now. Despite availing themselves to other projects during hiatus, coming together again to further the legacy of Cypress Hill was always on the cards for the Latin thugs.
“There was never any doubt,” Correa says, explaining that everyone is on tour minus DJ Muggs who was replaced by Julio G. “We feel that despite everything, with all the shows done over the years, we’re always interacting and we never really lost each other. This was just another chance to get back in the studio. B-Real might say ‘are you ready?’ I’m ready… it’s time for some action.”
The action of Rise Up is balls-out and rock-ready, inviting the likes of Everlast, Daron Malakian from System Of A Down, Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello and even Cheech & Chong to turn it out. And Correa points to Sen Dog as being the major rock enthusiast on the Hill.
“Where I personally believe that the real raw energy comes from is Sen Dog. With him working with a lot of different rockers he’s always down to do something like that and were all fans of it so we’re always down to make it. So in a case like Tom Morello he was touring with the Nightwatchman project when we mentioned that we’re working on a new album and it kinda came from that. Tom Morello’s first track Rise Up kinda set the tone on where we had to go with this, rock-wise.”
Sustained focus is rare today in the music industry, as Correa explains on how they all turned their keys going into 2010’s release. “Us doing the album the way we did and feeling re-energised and inspired to do it our way, was great. We didn’t set any limit for ourselves and we were more openminded as far as trying different things and doing it but we still managed to fit that into a formula which is very important. No matter what, you need to feel that in whatever you do. But I’m very proud of the album, B-Real and Sen Dog are proud,” he admits. “I’m excited to finally have great music to play for people, you know.”
In a recent interview B-Real remarked that Cypress Hill were trying for a heavier live effect to the CD to rival the intensity of their explosive live shows – the kind we’ve come to expect from these legends. “We gonna try to come up with something a lil’ different, something special for Australia,” Correa signs off on their Australian shows. “I think this time around were gonna give it to you old school original style.”