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The Beginning Of An Era,
This review is from: Black Sunday (Audio CD)
Until this album dropped, hip-hop was still largely a genre of music recorded for blacks by blacks about blacks. Cypress Hill changed the dynamics of rap by firstly being Latinos and secondly appealing to white college boys.
It has been argued that the stoned sound of the group was partly responsible for Dr Dre's G-Funk. Whether you believe this or not, it is quite easy to see the similarities on this album.
"Black Sunday" is of course the album responsible for one of the most well-known tracks of early 90s hip-hop "Insane In The Brain" with the now well known "Insane in the membrane/Insane in the brain" chorus and that whining beat with Public Enemy influence - later to appear on House Of Pain's work produced by DJ Muggs.
What is often forgotten in the memory of "Insane In The Brain" is the fact that both B-Real and Sen Dog have skills of a very high order. B-Real's flow on "Insane" has some very clever changes of pace and inventive rhymes - the start of the third verse "Like Louis Armstrong/played the trumpet/I'll hit that bong and break ya off somethin'" is worth attention. In the same track, Sen Dog is able to send up his own size while in the thick of a very creative battle rhyme.
The are certainly some very good moments on this album, however the ideas remain slightly under-developed. It would appear that whenever B-Real and Sen Dog are running low on ideas they just put in something about smoking marijuana, the track "Legalize It" is entirely that - just a collection of pro-weed samples. Also the "Interlude" only serves to interrupt the flow of the album.
In short, the 4 stars are for originality - which the album still has almost a decade after it was released - and lyricism. The lack of a fifth star is simply due to the underdevelopment of some of the ideas on the album and the frequent degeneration into marijuana chanting more likely to be found in a Bob Marley concert.