Cypress Hill

  • American hip hop group formed in 1988 from South Gate California. Members are Senen Reyes (Sen Dog – vocals), Lawrence Muggerud (DJ Muggs – turntables), Louis Freese (B-Real – lead vocals) and Eric Bobo (drums and percussion).
  • Sen Dog and his brother Ulpiano Sergio Reyes (Mellow Man Ace) were born in Cuba and emigrated to the U.S. in 1971. They met DJ Muggs and B-Real in 1988 and formed a hip hop group named DVX (for Devastating Vocal Excellence). Mellow Man left to pursue a solo career, and the others renamed themselves Cypress Hill, after a street in South Gate.
  • In 1989, they made a demo tape, and were signed to a record label. Their self titled debut album was released in 1991. The singles were The Phuncky Feel One, How Could I Just Kill a Man, Hand on the Pump, and Latin Lingo. The album was very successful, selling over 2 million copies. The songs featured samples of other songs, as produced by DJ Muggs and his use of his turntable. Cypress Hill was one of the first groups to use this sound – and it has been copied by countless other hip hop artists over the years.
  • Their second album, Black Sunday, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart in 1993.  Their debut album was still in the top 10 on the chart, so they became the first rap group to have 2 albums in the top 10 at the same time. It became their biggest selling album, driven by the crossover hit Insane in the Brain. By now, they were hip hop headliners.
  • Their fifth album in 2000, Skull & Bones, was a double album. The “Skull” disc featured rap songs, while the “Bones” disc has more of a rock & roll sound. It had a single with 2 different versions – Rock Superstar was for rock radio while Rap Superstar was for urban radio.
  • They have released 8 studio albums, 1 live album, and 37 singles. Their last album, Rise Up,  was released in 2010. It features artists from other groups, particularly hard rockers like Daron Malakian from System of a Down, Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, as well as tropical/salsa artist Marc Anthony, and rappers Pitbull, Evidence, Young De and Everlast. They reportedly are close to releasing a new album, called Elephants on Acid. 
  • Cypress Hill is the first latino hip hop group to have multiple albums with sales over 1 million copies. Their sound is considered one of the defining sounds of “West Coast rap.” They are notorious for their endorsement of legalized marijuana, and their music is influenced by the effects of cannibis – kind of a “stoned funk.” A signature style for the group is B-Real’s vocals, which are high pitched and have a nasal sound to them. You’ll hear all of these styles, as well as 6 different samples of other songs, in the video for Insane in the Brain. 

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