Hailing from South Gate, California, hip-hop group Cypress Hill released their 10th album, Back in Black, via MNRK, an album distilling the West Coast sound they are renowned for.
Made up of B-Real, Sen Dog, DJ Muggs, and Eric Bobo, Cypress Hill exploded on the scene in 1991 with the release of their self-titled album. Of their previous albums, the best include Black Sunday, Cypress Hill III: Temples of Boom, Cypress Hill IV, and Elephants on Acid.
Produced by Black Milk, Back in Black comprises 10-tracks, beginning with “Takeover,” riding thick layers of boom-bap. Highlights include the heavy thrumming beat of “Open Ya Mind,” with tasty funk tangs. The track revels in the legalization of marijuana in California while deriding the federal government’s failure to follow suit.
“Bye Bye” rolls out on a rattling rhythm full of Jovian thumps, while the lyrics speak to the warzone milieu of neighborhoods. B-Real’s nasal rapping flow gives the lyrics striking energy. Whereas “Come With Me,” a tribute to Outlawz’s “Hail Mary,” travels on crisp, crunching percussion as “la da da” harmonies infuse the lyrics with creamy oomph.
“The Original” travels on boom-bap savors imbued with funk-laced flavors. “Break of Dawn” features a grimacing guitar providing cry accents as potent flows imbue the lyrics with dangerous hues. Blending elements of dancehall and trip-hop, “Champion Sound” rides a massive, measured rhythm as popping flows give the lyrics intense dynamics.
Utilizing a gleaming vibraphone and bongos, “The Ride” relates the tale of a crack dealer. A fat bassline and tight percussion inject the rhythm with a trundling feel.
With Back in Black, Cypress Hill returns to their gangsta-rap origins, which is contrary to their past experimentations in alt-hip-hop and dubstep. Impressive samples and uncompromising rhythms deliver a single-minded album with dense basslines and forceful percussion.