Cypress Hill is a prominent rap music group (formed in 1988), which has sold 15 million records around the world. It is composed of members B-Real (Louis Freese or Freeze, Mexican/Cuban), Sen Dog (Senen Reyes, Cuban), DJ Muggs (Lawrence Muggerud, Italian-American) and, since 1994, percussionist Eric Bobo.
Cypress Hill's band members are from South Gate, California. The three original members formed a group called DVX in 1986 with Sen Dog's brother Mellow Man Ace. When Mellow Man Ace left in 1988, they decided to rename themselves Cypress Hill after a street running through their neighborhood.
The band played mainly to Latino audiences in Los Angeles and recorded early versions of songs such as "Phuncky Feel One" and "Trigga Happy Nigga." In 1991, they signed to Philadelphia's Ruffhouse label with distribution by Columbia Records.
Their first album, which was self-titled, was released in November 1991. Its single was "Phuncky Feel One," but it was the B-side "How I Could Just Kill a Man" (formerly "Trigga Happy Nigga") that attracted more airplay on urban radio and college radio. Based on the success of the single and other tracks such as bilingual track "Latin Lingo" and X-rated Spanish track "Tres equis", the album sold two million copies. Subsequently, DJ Muggs produced House of Pain's first album, then working with the Beastie Boys and Funkdoobiest. The band made their first appearance at Lollapalooza on the side stage in 1992.
Black Sunday, the group's second album, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in 1993, recording the highest Soundscan for a rap group up until that time. With "Insane in the Brain" becoming a crossover hit, the album went double platinum in the U.S. and sold 3.25 million albums.
As the first rappers fighting for the legalization of marijuana, Cypress Hill was banned from Saturday Night Live after Muggs lit up a joint and the band trashed their instruments while playing their second single "I Ain't Goin' Out Like That". The band headlined the "Soul Assassins" tour with House of Pain and Funkdoobiest as support, then performed on a college tour with Rage Against the Machine and Seven Year Bitch. In 1993, Cypress Hill also had two tracks on the Judgment Night soundtrack, teamed up with Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth, respectively.
The band played at the 1994 Woodstock Festival introducing their new member Eric Bobo who was formerly a percussionist with the Beastie Boys. Bobo is the son of famous salsa musician Willie Bobo. Muggs, when asked about the new member, said: "As Latinos we thought it would be a good idea to build in some of this latin jazz flavor." Rolling Stone Magazine named the band as the best rap group in their music awards voted by critics and readers. Cypress Hill played at Lollapalooza for two successive years topping the bill in 1995. They appeared on an episode of "The Simpsons" in which Homer becomes a performer at a freak show appearing on a tour similar to Lollapalooza.
Their third album III (Temples of Boom) was released in 1995 selling 1.5 million copies and reaching number 3 on the Billboard 200 despite not having a hit single. Cypress Hill also contributed a track "I Wanna Get High" to the High Times sponsored "Hempilation" album to support NORML.
Sen took a break from the band to form punk-rap band SX-10. Meanwhile in 1996, Cypress Hill appeared on the first Smokin' Grooves tour, featuring Ziggy Marley, the Fugees, Busta Rhymes and A Tribe Called Quest. The band also released a nine track EP Unreleased and Revamped with rare mixes.
In 1997, band members focused on their solo careers. Muggs released Muggs Presents ... the Soul Assassins featuring contributions from Wu-Tang Clan members, Dr. Dre, KRS-One, Wyclef Jean and Mobb Deep. B-Real appeared with Busta Rhymes, Coolio, L.L. Cool J and Method Man on "Hit Em High" from the multi-platinum Space Jam Soundtrack. He also appeared with Dr. Dre, Nas and KRS-One on "East Coast Killer, West Coast Killer" on Dr. Dre's Aftermath album, and released an album entitled "The Psycho Realm" from his side project of the same name. Through the focus that year was not on Cypress Hill, the band played Smokin' Grooves with George Clinton and Erykah Badu.
Cypress Hill released IV in 1998 which went gold in the U.S. on the backs of hit single "Tequila Sunrise" and another tribute to smoking marijuana "Dr. Greenthumb." Sen Dog also released the Get Wood sampler as part of SX-10 on Jordan Schur's Flip label.
In 1999, Cypress Hill helped with the PC crime/very mature video game Kingpin: Life Of Crime. 3 of their songs from the 1998 IV album were in the game. B-Real also did some of the voices of the people in the game.
Also in 1999, the band released a greatest-hits album in Spanish, Los grandes éxitos en español. Cypress Hill then fused genres with their two-disc release, Skull & Bones, in 2000. The first disc, "Skull" was comprised of rap tracks while "Bones" explored further the group's forays into rock. The album reached the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 and number 3 in Canada. The first single was "Rock Superstar" for rock radio and "Rap Superstar" for urban radio. The band also released a Live at the Fillmore disc in 2000.
Cypress Hill continued their experimentation with rock on The Stoned Raiders album on 2001. However, its sales were a disappointment, as the disc did not even reach the top 50 of the U.S. album charts.
The band released Till Death Do Us Part on March 23, 2004. The album saw the band experiment with reggae especially on the lead single "What's Your Number". The track features Tim Armstrong of Rancid on bass and Rob Ashton of The Transplants on backup vocals. It is based on the classic song "Guns of Brixton" on The Clash's London Calling and has proven to be a success on the modern rock charts. However, people who expected the original Cypress Hill-Flow from the first four albums got disappointed. The album also features appearances by Damian Marley, son of Bob Marley, Prodigy and Twin of Mobb Deep and producer the Alchemist.
One of the band's most striking aspects is B-Real's exaggeratedly high-pitched voice, which fits and emphasizes the lyrics' concentration on parodied gangster stories (They got me cornered / lemme just warn ya / I'll pull this trigga / make your family mourn ya! / Boo-hoo!). Template:Section-stub
Members of the group are also involved with the Division 2 NPPL paintball team, Stoned Raiders sponsored by Smarts Parts, JT and Chronic. B-Reals music appears on Greg Hastings Tournament Paintball and GHTP 2 Max'd.
- Cypress Hill (1991)
- Black Sunday (1993)
- Cypress Hill III: Temples of Boom (1995)
- Unreleased and Revamped EP (1996)
- IV (1998)
- Los grandes éxitos en español (1999) (Greatest hits in Spanish)
- Skull & Bones (2000)
- Live at the Fillmore (2000)
- Stoned Raiders (2001)
- Stash (2002)
- Till Death Do Us Part (2004)
- B Real Official website
- Dj Muggs Official website
- Eric Bobo Official website
- Cypress Hill's official website
- Cypress Hill news
- Cypress Hill's entry on allmusic
- Cypress Hill's entry on hip online
- Cypress Hill's entry on iSOUND.COM
- Cypress Hill Lyrics