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Cypress Hill's Pot-Laced Hip-Hop High

July 18, 1993|DENNIS HUNT


"Black Sunday"


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Pot-smoking rap trio Cypress Hill is back with more music to fly high by. On its second album, a hazy cloud of pot smoke hangs over tracks that feature shrieking saxophones, thunderclap bass lines and sinister sounds bursting up here and there.

This guided tour of the surreal world of psychedelic hip-hop is as lively as Cypress Hill's debut album. But this isn't the escapism of PM Dawn's sunny, psychedelic world. There's a chilling side to the music of the South Gate trio, whose aural landscape is mined with jolts and jagged edges.

There's a cartoonish quality to the raps, with B-Real often sounding like a whacked-out Bugs Bunny. Part of the charge generated by such tracks as the black-humored "Insane in the Brain" comes from the sharp contrasts between that cheery tone and the stark, gloomy lyrics.

On its million-selling debut, "Cypress Hill," the trio moved to the forefront of psychedelic hip-hop, and "Black Sunday" boasts even sharper insights, crisper beats and a more tantalizingly ominous tone.

Cypress Hill offers something more substantial than a juvenile music fest for potheads. Throughout such tracks as "When the S--- Goes Down," "Like a Shot" and "Cock the Hammer," Cypress Hill distorts reality without whitewashing it, hammering home a pithy message: There's no escape from bleak reality to some silver-lined heaven.

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