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Cypress Hill- Elephants on Acid My full album review.....
September 27, 2018
4:40 pm
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Karacalla
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      The album drops officially Friday, 9/28 but I've received my copy a week in advance and had some time to properly review it. 

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The album is an experience from front to back. In true Cypress Hill form, Sonically it sounds like nothing that is currently out in hip hop. A large part of this is because it only has one producer (DJ MUGGS) and not a compiled list of beat makers with there own individual styles. Every song sounds like it is related to the one before and after it all interlocked and woven to comprise the LP. This is whats missing from most hip hop projects that I wish would return, the cohesiveness of sound on a record instead of a mash up of producers. 

This is one of those albums that you listen to alone in the dark with headphones on to get the full scale of sound. It is immensely dark in nature and has a Paranoid-Psychedelic meets grimy early nineties east coast hip hop overall feel. This is the modern 2018 version of Temples of Boom, Cypress Hill's classic third album. The maturity of the group shows here on the groups ninth album in both production and lyrical content. It has all the classic staples you would expect from a Cypress Hill record, just in a much higher form. Muggs, one forth of the group, creates a very unsettling musical landscape that B-real and Sen Dog lyrically navigate through. The production of this record was created over a five year span with songs like "Band of Gypsies" being crafted in Egypt as muggs was inspired by street performers in Cairo as he visited king Tuts tomb. He rented a studio and pulled them off the street and basically created the track with them on the spot. "The 5th Angel" instrumental track was inspired by his trip to Rome and created, once again, on the spot in Italy. There are few guest on the album and those select few are Sick Jacken from the Group Psycho Realm, a singer named Bevi and GonjaSufi, whom he recorded with in Joshua Tree.

Tusko (Intro)

A haunting opening to the record, similar to Temples of Boom, with Sitar chords echoing over bells complete with heavy bass drops. 

Band of Gypsies

The intro immediately morphs into the main melody that composes this song. Egyptian Arabic praising Hash can be herd over a Hammond organ in the intro to the song. This is where Muggs takes two completely different cultures and sounds and perfectly hems them together. You have Arabic on the chorus and two Latino rappers providing the lyrics over a beat by an Caucasian producer. I guess this is why Cypress Hill appeals to a vast array of people. If hip hop was made in the 1960's and in Eastern Culture, this is what it would sound like. I don't think any part of the instrumental is exactly the same, guitars are added to the outro of the song.

Put Em in the Ground

The Chorus to put em in the ground cuts off the magic carpet ride of Band of Gypsies. It almost sounds like something ASAP Rocky would do. It is one of the few faster tempo tracks. The staggering Boom-Bap drums loop over an electric bass line. It has the single guitar string playing in the background that is expected on a Cypress Hill song. B-Real starts it off with the lyric,

"Every morning I wake up in a bad mood/ Attitude fucked up/he's a bad dude....", This sets the tone for the two verse-Two chorus short track. Sendog does the second Verse.

Satao 

In typical Muggs fashion the album is laced with interludes and this is the first one. These interludes are somewhat short instrumentals that take the record down its different paths. This is a simple piano riff that echos over the cracking of an old vinyl playing effect. I would fashion the sound as something out of a horror movie scene.

Jesus was a Stoner

This is one of those tracks where I described how the Sound and Lyrics of Cypress Hill have matured. The slow Jazz Bass and organ keys go hand in hand with the cash register sampled from Pink Floyds "Money" for this songs snares. The gongs crashing and Sitars echo as every other bar ends and is an incredible effect. This would be "I want to get High" in 2018. Singers echo from ear to ear on its bridge and outro. It has a minimal chorus and one long verse from B-Real.

"I'm called the weed messiah/grab ya lighter......" Is how the song opens, and the concept is B-Real is a prophet and is preaching to us, the congregation. It has a lot of religious tones and metaphors.  

Pass the Knife

Starts with a haunting bell loop with B-Real whispering his famous "la-la-la-la" until the bass drops and the "Cypress" sample starts repeating methodically. This is an 808 driven track and somewhat borders horrorcore in the lyrics. Its about a serial killer who blends in perfectly within society. Sendog does the chorus and says,

"In the middle of the street/ and I got me a pistol/ If you wanna see more/ all I got to do is whistle...." 

LSD

Another perfectly placed and short interlude. Heavy bass drops over the sounds of elephants complete with a Spanish sounding piano loop. This breaks up the darkness of the record and and gets the listener into a more playful mood setting up the next song.

Oh Na Na

Another old school break beat is the backbone for this semi-uptempo song. It has an offset 1950's sounding piano playing throughout it, complete with a "Big Band" era sound. It also has trumpets on it. The chorus is song by a woman known as Bevi and is another ode to what Cypress Hill is most famous for, Marijuana. This would be the albums party song.

Holy Mountain

Another Interlude. It has Sitars and bongo drums laced over a smooth Jazz bass line complimented by bells. It switches up at the last minute into and eerie outro setting the listener up for the next song.

Locos

Intense is the only way to describe this song. If you could picture a bunch of Spanish dudes planning a robbery and then executing it, this song would be playing as the soundtrack. It is relentless and only has one or two breaks in the entire three minutes. Eric Bobo, son of willie bobo and one forth of Cypress Hill, provides the congas in the backdrop. B-Real and Send dog trade bars as they plan and rob people for there green, not money, but as they would say on the song, "Cash Crop". Sick Jacken from the group Psycho Realm does the chorus in Spanish. This is part two of "Locotes" off of the Temples of Boom Record, Complete with the "5 and 4 and 3 and 2 and 1..." part. The strings on this song are pretty sinister along with the choir in the backdrop.

Falling Down

Is a Nine in nails sounding song. It has a nasty guitar baseline with a nice live drum loop. It examines all the pitfalls in life and is an introspective track. "Sitting in the Cali sun...", is reused from "Band of Gypsies" along with a guy singing ,"Keep falling down.." directly after. One of the themes on this record would be the minimalist approach to the majority of the hooks and choruses, this song is no exception. Two verses one from each Sen and B and two hooks.

"Life's about timing/ and time waits for no one...", raps B-Real.

Elephant Acid

Another short interlude to change the pace of the record. The last two songs before this where pretty intense and the simple strings and hard hitting piano riff of this interlude kind of soften the blow of them both.

Insane OG

NOT.

The interlude before this, to soften the blow, was a farce. A simple bell rings and then.....

This song comes at you a million miles per hour out of the gate. If the end of the world had a theme, this would be it. It is one of the shorter songs with one long verse and a hook.  

"See I started as a soldier/ in my culture/ in the shadows....." Is how B-Real climbs the backwards playing symphony, death bells and hard hitting bass kicks on this slow rolling track. Subtle reversed choirs bounce from ear to ear in the background.

"Look in to my Smith & Wesson..." is how the chorus ends in a vocal echo.

The 5th Angel 

Is labeled as an Instrumental, but it really is just like the other interludes, only well produced and not as simplistic. It has another eerie piano/bell loop with a quiet and somber drum loop using sticks hitting as the snares. It also has violin strings playing in some parts of it. This was recorded in Italy according to Muggs. A nice, somewhat spooky piece of music.

Warlord

The build up to this song is one of the best on the entire album. It starts with an opera singer hitting very unsettling notes as thunder and rain fall in the background. Then Timpani drums start to build up with an array of orchestra instruments. Envision Conan or Genghis Khan standing over a battle and the music playing in the background would be this. Some of the best instrumentation on the album culminate at this exact point. Out of nowhere a bass and simple drum loop kick in and a high pitch chorus plays in the background.

"Hellfire spreading wide/ now your in the inferno..." are some of the lyrics to this audio decimation. 

B-Real and Sendog have the albums usual two chorus, two hook pattern on this one trading War stories with yet another lo-fi hook simply saying, 

"March on the Devil......" As abrupt and intensely as the song starts, the War is over as Thunder crackling stops the track cold. 

Reefer Man

This single was released on the "Grow" soundtrack a year or so ago. It's has a couple different change ups on it compared to its earlier release. It's a pretty basic Cypress Hill song, the title alone tells the tale. The horns and bass are complimented by the singer named Bevi once again. B-Reals signature "La-la-la-la" from "hand on the pump" are prevalent on this.

Thru the Rabbit Hole

Another, longer interlude. It has spaced out keyboard keys echoing along with bells and a drum and bass pattern that cant seem to start. Its a very trippy interlude and sounds like it was yanked from one of those old fuzzy 1960's records. It's the perfect set up for the next song and the most Acid induced spaced out music on the record.

Crazy

 If in an alternate dimension Cypress Hill promoted mushrooms instead of weed, this would be the song. Its the "Dr.Greenthumb" song, only flipped on mushrooms for this record. Complete with lyrics about elephants. Sendog really shines on this track,

"Brain got stuck/ something aint rite/ I can feel it in my gut...."

It has a swinging kind of feel to it with the singer Bevi once again providing the chorus singing, 

"I think I'm loosing my mind...going crazy....."

This is one of the more catchier songs on the album, so I get why it was a single.

Muggs Is Dead

Is an interlude, and pluck straight from the bowels of the Beatles "Sgt. Peppers" album. It has an "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" quality to it as a single voice shifts from low to high simply stating Muggs is dead. The backdrop is a carnival theme with a ghostly flute playing throughout. Dj Muggs is know as "The Black Goat" now, so this is a fitting tribute and end to his old name.

Blood on My Hands Again

This is the collaboration with Gonjasufi. You can tell by the warped intro to the song this one is going to be very dark. Gonjasufi starts the song with the hook, then the slow rolling beat looses its melody and kicks back in. The menacing organ keys and kick drums paint a horrific background as B-Reals Lyrics come forth with,

"From the darkest corners of the world/ Where demons dream of suffering/ try to walk amongst the living....".

The lyrical content on this song matches its sound. If the seven seals where ever broken and the four horsemen of the apocalypse started to ride, this would be playing. Lyrics such as,

"Riding on a pale horse/ Blade in hand/ Death has come.....", from B-Real capture the end of humanity on this song.

The chorus is sung by Gonjasufi and is slightly reminiscent of choruses sung by west coast legend Kokain. A very dark, apocalyptic and intense song. The bridge and outro has some added screams and unholy pianos on them.

Stairway to Heaven

Is the longest track and closer to the album. If "Blood on my hands again" was the end of humanity, this song would be its salvation after death. This is a testimonial by B-Real that shows his growth as an MC. Explaining and Repenting about all the bad deeds hes done. The track really has no drum kicks. Its just another dark Jazz bass line with strings woven around it. Bevi sings the hook,

"Im building my stairway/ Stairway to heaven....."

Around the four minute mark we get a quiet jazz drum pattern for a moment until the instrumental peaks and disbands. It morphs on the outro into something totally different than what it started out as. The album ends with Vinyl cracking on a turntable and crickets chirping at a low pass.

This would be the sobering up part after the ride this record takes us on.  

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September 27, 2018
8:23 pm
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Chevy2Dope
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I didn't read your review just because I had not heard it yet and will want to hear it at least once before I read about other people's opinions. But, I'm pumped to hear it tomorrow. The 4 songs they've put out so far on Apple Music are all a trip. I wonder if the younger kids like in their teens and 20's know shit about Cypress Hill?

September 27, 2018
10:16 pm
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Karacalla
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Chevy2Dope said
I didn't read your review just because I had not heard it yet and will want to hear it at least once before I read about other people's opinions. But, I'm pumped to hear it tomorrow. The 4 songs they've put out so far on Apple Music are all a trip. I wonder if the younger kids like in their teens and 20's know shit about Cypress Hill?  

 I would think so, there music has been in countless movies so they have that generational bridge.

"Insane in the brain", and Ironically "Jump Around" are made by Muggs, and everyone knows them. Most sporting events play Jump Around so even if they didn't know them per say, they could identify with there music.

 

Not spoiling it for you, but it really is a dark and gritty album. Most of the songs are Three minutes or less so the album always gets your attention.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did on the first listen.

Treat yourself and find a quiet spot and Zone out to it with some headphones man.

Whoop Whoop, Karacalla :

Chevy2Dope

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September 27, 2018
10:40 pm
Old Mr Dangerous
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I'm going to skip your review for now too. And then purchase it and read yours after I've bumped it a few times. Itll be a while because I've had a financially draining summer, but it's long overdue for a new Cypress.

To answer another question, it doesnt see like many younger cats know much about them when I play Cypress at my job. In a weird way, I think that they view artists like Cypress Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang, Tupac etc in the same way some of us viewed Grandmaster Flash and the like... respectable, just a bit before our time for us to truly get I to it. However, we all listen to past generation's music anyway.... so I dunno. 

Tomorrow I'm going to play some Cypress at work.

Whoop Whoop, Old Mr Dangerous :

Drunkalo
September 27, 2018
11:56 pm
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Karacalla
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Old Mr Dangerous said

To answer another question, it doesnt see like many younger cats know much about them when I play Cypress at my job. In a weird way, I think that they view artists like Cypress Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang, Tupac etc in the same way some of us viewed Grandmaster Flash and the like... respectable, just a bit before our time for us to truly get I to it. However, we all listen to past generation's music anyway.... so I dunno. 

 

Don't you work at a dispensary or something?

If you do, Just know, every time you play "Dr.Greenthumb" you are promoting the competition since B-real opened up a chain of dispensaries called, "Dr.Greenthumb", lol.

I totally understand about the newer generation not being down with the Hill, its cool. That's like when I was a kid listening to Onyx my Uncle would try to school me to Kool Mo D, and I was having none of that shit. My nephew straight up talks shit about Tupac......Fucking......Tupac. In my mind it's blasphemous, but I know no one from this generation of Hip Hop will still be around in 28 years and still doing it like Cypress. So I avoid the argument and just smile. New age music, for the most part , is very expendable and these Social media little fuckers think anything over a year old is ancient, but hey, our generation of hip hop is still moving along and touring. So once again, I just smile.

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September 28, 2018
6:29 am
Carnivalkilla44
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Cue the the OMD B-Real diss track, "Fuck yo dispensary!" Featuring Monoxide of course!

Whoop Whoop, Carnivalkilla44 :

SPOOKYtheFUNGI
September 28, 2018
7:24 am
Old Mr Dangerous
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Karacalla said

Old Mr Dangerous said

To answer another question, it doesnt see like many younger cats know much about them when I play Cypress at my job. In a weird way, I think that they view artists like Cypress Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang, Tupac etc in the same way some of us viewed Grandmaster Flash and the like... respectable, just a bit before our time for us to truly get I to it. However, we all listen to past generation's music anyway.... so I dunno. 

 

Don't you work at a dispensary or something?

If you do, Just know, every time you play "Dr.Greenthumb" you are promoting the competition since B-real opened up a chain of dispensaries called, "Dr.Greenthumb", lol.

I totally understand about the newer generation not being down with the Hill, its cool. That's like when I was a kid listening to Onyx my Uncle would try to school me to Kool Mo D, and I was having none of that shit. My nephew straight up talks shit about Tupac......Fucking......Tupac. In my mind it's blasphemous, but I know no one from this generation of Hip Hop will still be around in 28 years and still doing it like Cypress. So I avoid the argument and just smile. New age music, for the most part , is very expendable and these Social media little fuckers think anything over a year old is ancient, but hey, our generation of hip hop is still moving along and touring. So once again, I just smile.  

I've played Dr. Greenthumb in there lol. Sometimes I play Cypress live at Red Rocks with Slightly Stoopid. . . And Greenthumb dispensary is in Cali, no competitor there.

I was never into Pac like my peers were, or even Biggie for that matter. But you got to respect them. It's one of those things. Those kids will never understand. And we cant blame them for being born into a world where realistic and the most creative hip hop were being pushed to underground and independent status.

Whoop Whoop, Old Mr Dangerous :

SPOOKYtheFUNGI
September 29, 2018
10:20 am
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Chevy2Dope
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Shit, I'm just finishing up my first listen through. Maybe it's too early to say this, but, this may be one of their strongest albums. Like you said, it's a real listening experience. People aren't really doing that shit anymore and yet here they are coming strong with a super original and solid album in the hip hop world. I definitely need to listen more, but, Crazy is the standout for now. Only they can pull off having such a ridiculous beat sound so dope. 

Whoop Whoop, Chevy2Dope :

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