The Vault of the Almost Forgotten: Cypress Hill – Black Sunday

The irony of me writing this post on an album called ‘Black Sunday’ was not intentional by any means, Sunday is just my day to get some writing done. Anyhow, for those of you who are not familiar with the group, Cypress Hill is composed of 4 members. Sen Dog, B-Real, DJ Muggs, and Eric Bobo. You may recognize them from various movies as well, playing intimidating latino gangster figures. You may have heard their songs as well, such as “Insane in the Membrane” and “I Ain’t Going Out Like That“. I feel that Black Sunday is one of those classic hip hop albums that is rarely recognized. To me when you think of the golden age of hip hop and albums like Illmatic, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z., and etc, you should also think about this album. Let me kind of give you my thoughts on this almost forgotten classic.

The album starts out with a song called “I Want to get High” which is a song that expresses strictly what they were about at the time. It’s short and simple but the melody was very jazzy.

Catch a hoe, then another hoe, Merry Christmas

Which is something that I guess matched with a lot of the hip hop music at the time anyways. I Ain’t Going Out Like That was a single as well for those that failed to remember that. It’s a rebellious song that kind of reminds you of looking into the mind of Chuck D of Public Enemy but the production and the style doesn’t mimic Public Enemy’s style.

Insane in the Membrane is a song that I think more people recognize. I could imagine that most younger people wonder who sings this song because it’s usually included in a lot of DJ sets. This track is probably one of my favorite songs of theirs, the beat is so sick. In When the Shit Goes Down they give you a look into their everyday lives and tell you when the shit goes down you better be ready. It’s crazy how they used samples similar to their peers but treated it in a whole different way. The mind state was straight gully at the time of course.
Lick A Shot

Songs like these are tracks that you could just listen to, they really don’t have to be analyzed, they just deserve your full attention. Cock the Hammer is a song that makes me think about beat downs in alleys and people breaking into pawn shops and stealing Zeniths. It’s crazy how the sample is jazzy and they make the song so gangster.
Musical Interlude

So random this track is but there is something about it that you have to respect. You can tell that there is some appreciation for the foundation of their music. When I first heard Lil Putos I was in like 6th or 7th grade and one of my friends at the time slid me his CD player while in class and told me to put the earplugs in when the teacher turned her head. Shit, won’t nobody looking so I put them in my ear and was automatically amused by the funk of the production and relentlessness of the lyrics. Everything was confrontational and add to that the fact that my head was bobbing like a mutha. I will never forget what that CD looked like whenever I popped the top open to see what I was listening to, vicious and demonic.
Legalize and Hits from the Bomb are songs that should have been played somewhere during Half Baked. The melody to What Go Around Come Around, Kid is worthy of being playing at a reasonable level in a glass house (aka ’64 Impala). A to the K was such a tough song! If this song didn’t represent the conflicts in LA at the time then I don’t what could have, besides The Chronic of course. Another glass house worthy song.

Hand on the Glock was another groovy song that they decided to introduce the listeners to stories that represented the reality that they were living. “self-defense turns to the offense” if that ain’t the truth, seen it happen. I love that chorus. It’s so hard to concentrate and provide some solid analysis while such a great sound is in your ears, so enjoy this last song, entitled Break Em Off Some.

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