12 Days of Early 90’s Hip Hop – Day 5

12 Days of Early 90's Hip Hop

We don’t have five gold rings for Day 5 of 12 Days of Early 90’s Hip Hop but and we’re still in 1993.

Black Sunday – Cypress Hill (1993)
Produced by DJ Muggs and T-Ray

It was a close call with this slot. I almost plumped for Guru’s Jazzmatazz Volume 1, which might just edge it in terms of music I return to. But I think to include a list of important early 90’s rap music without this album would be criminal. Speaking of criminal; this album – the second in the Cypress Hill catalogue – is perhaps the most famous ode to marijuana and a call for decriminalization thereof in the history of rap music. Which makes it a favourite with stoners, slackers, rockers and rap fans the world over.

Cypress Hill with their funk and rock inspired Latin hip hop have managed to appeal to many different sets of people, which is an incredible feat. And whether you’re a joker, a smoker or a midnight toker you are likely to find at least one track on here you love. Hits from the Bong with it’s beautiful Dusty Springfield hook (a year before Pulp Fiction was released and re-popularised Son of a Preacher Man) is a hazy and sublime chilled out hymn to the water filtered inhalation of cannabis, replete with bong sound effects. Insane in the Brain has become one of the most annoying student anthems (along with House of Pain’s Jump Around) that every white guy in heavy boots who likes to jump seems to know the words to. Nonetheless, there is an infectious likeability to Cypress Hill, which permeates this record. Other stand out tracks include A to the K (which was omitted from the censored version of the album), When the Shit Goes DownI wanna Get High and What Go Around Come Around, Kid which are tightly produced and peppered with rock and funk samples from the likes of Black Sabbath and Sly and The Family Stone.

It’s the sort of album that unifies people. Even if those people are only unified in anti-establishment drug abuse. At it’s best, Hip Hop is anti-establishment, which is why when dumb academics microscopically analyse the agenda of rap musicians in a way they would never do to punk records, they are not affording it the same revolutionary possibilities. And Hip Hop does have revolutionary possibilities. The multi-million selling popularity of a love letter album to weed, typifies this.