Cypress Hill: Rise Up

They walk on to the roof top of the Capitol/EMI Records offices in downtown Manhattan and it is as if they are unaware of who they really are. Most people  consider Cypress Hill to be true pioneers in the game. Hip-Hop legends, if you will. But these O.G. are far more humble than you would […]

They walk on to the roof

top of the Capitol/EMI Records offices in downtown Manhattan and it

is as if they are unaware of who they really are. Most people 

consider Cypress Hill to be true pioneers in the game. Hip-Hop legends,

if you will. But these O.G. are far more humble than you would expect Hip-Hop royalty. Even Kings have to promote an album and at 1pm, Cypress is just getting started. Meanwhile, the average

New Yorker has completed roughly half their day. But for B-Real and Sen

Dog, the new journey has begun. They’ve just finished a number of phone

interviews, ate a quick lunch then proceed to smoke a couple of joints.

Later on that evening, will go on to play a show at New York

City’s S.O.B.’s. But for the time being, they sit calmly on the

roof top as the crisp spring breeze whisks away the potent smell of

Mary Jane. Cypress Hill released their

eighth studio album six years ago (2004’s Till Death Do Us Part) and since then, both members released solo projects (Smoke

N Mirrors

  for B-Real) Diary of a Mad Dog from Sen Dog). Despite their solo efforts, they’ve managed to come full circle.

They’ve added percussionist Eric Bobo to the roster, signed with a

new label (Priority/EMI Entertainment), gotten back in the studio and

are now prepared to present their latest studio LP, Rise Up,

which is scheduled for release on the most significant day for all marijuana

smokers from here to Timbuktu, April 20. There is no doubt that

B-Real and Sen Dog have grown, becoming more mature and experienced

in the industry that has eaten many alive. They have proved that when

all the smoke clears, there is one thing that is for sure. Cypress Hill

is still the same down-to-earth pot smoking, lyrical assassins that

maintain crazy love and respect for all that is Hip-Hop. And so long

as they have breath in their bodies, they won’t stop delivering the

music that takes fans higher. Rise

Up was pushed back from its original scheduled release date and

is now going to be released on April 20, 2010. Besides what many people

would consider to be the obvious significance of 4-20, was there any

other reason you pushed the album back? B-Real: Originally, it

was supposed to come out late last year. But we wanted to do a little

bit more work and get a couple of more tracks done. Then we said we

were going to release it in March. We always wanted to put it out on

4-20. But we had been kind of anxious because it’s been six years.

But then we all said, you know what, 4-20 has to be the release date

because it just makes the most sense. Why wouldn’t we do it? We have

the chance to do it. So, we jumped on it and pushed it back. A lot of

people think we planned it, like aw well, they waited this long because

4-20 is on a Tuesday and that’s when people release records. I wish

the story was that easy. (Laughs) We just took more time than we thought

we would need. We all had solo projects happening, but for the last

three years we started grinding out. Was it hard

to come back together after such a long hiatus?Sen Dog: No. The game plan

was to always come back and continue Cypress Hill.B-Real: We already had

created momentum from other projects. We were already in the studio.

It wasn’t as hard as people might think. So

it sounds like 4-20 is going to be a big day for you all? What are you

going to be doing, besides promoting the album?B-Real: (Laughs) Aside

from smoking a ton, they’ve got us on a crazy press run. We’ll be

in LA doing a [radio] morning show. Then we have to run a catch a flight

and do an in-store at 4-20 which we are going to be streaming live on

our Ustream. And then we’re gonna be playing a show that night. We

do an annual 4-20 show in San Francisco. This one is going to be our

fourth annual 4-20 show there. And it’s obviously gonna be one crazy

weed party. I mean, we’ve got so much s**t going on. All of your

albums have shown different sides of the group and continuous growth.

What can the fans look forward to in terms of lyrical content and diversity

with this album? We try to never to do the same thing twice. We try

never to borrow from the sound that came before. You know what I mean?

We try to re-invent ourselves with the music every time. We just write

about life experiences. The things we go through. Things that we’ve

seen in this business or in our personal lives. So as long as we are

using that as a back drop, we’ll never run out of material.

We have stuff that everybody can relate to. Whether you’re rich or

broke. We write about what people go through. We try to keep the human

factor. Are there

any big features on the album? B-Real: We’ve got Tom

Morello, he’s a very good friend of ours. He’s featured on the title

track, “Rise Up”. He’s also on another song called “Shut Em’

Down”. We got Everlast. Mike Shonida. We got Marc Anthony and Pitbull.

As far as producers we got Jake One, he’s a really dope producer.

Daron Malakian. And of course, DJ Muggs. We’ve got a lot of good features

and dope producers on the album. Snoop is

now currently the creative chairman for the label. Have you had the

opportunity to work with him hands-on on this project? B-Real: He just let us

be us. He’s knows we’re professionals. Whenever we can collaborate

together as artists, that’s great. But as far as when he signed us,

he didn’t really come in and try and tell us what to create. We have

a vision of what our s### should sound like. And I think as an artist

he understands that. What is this album

going to do for West Coast Hip Hop?B-Real: Umm, I don’t

know. I think that’s up to the people when they hear it. Hopefully,

it will open up the eyes of people who have been forgetting about the

West Coast. There are plenty of great artists but they don’t get enough

light because our own stations don’t really support as much as they

should. Sometimes they play too much of that down South music. They

don’t even play that much East Coast s**t anymore. There’s not a

good balance anymore. It’s kinda f##### up. It kinda ruined the Hip

Hop scene back home but we’re tryna get it back started. Hopefully

this is one of the many steps we are going to take in tryna get it back

to the way it should be. Do you follow

any of the South music? B-Real: Here and there.

Um, there’s a lot of cool s**t out there. But there’s not that much

creativity coming from there. You got a few people doing some real cool

s**t but then it all starts to sound generic. And then you can’t differentiate

the good from the sh**ty. It starts to all sound the same. And I think

that’s the problem that’s going on down there. But I can’t hate,

do your thing. It’s your lane. We got our lane. There’s room for

all of us. Radio has the power to shed light on whatever they want.

And right now, that’s where it is. It’s not fair but it’s not

a democracy. Who do you

follow in Hip Hop or music in general? B-Real: Oh, that’s a

lot of people. Cube. Snoop. Dre. Nipsy. All them cats. We all gotta

be down together because all this separation s### between the older

artists and the newer artist is bulls**t. We gotta pass the torch like

the guys before us pass the torch to us. We ain’t gotta go nowhere

but at least show love to the guys that are coming behind you. Because

this s**t ain’t just for us. It’s for everybody. That’s why I

f**k with everybody, both old school artists and new school artists. Are you

ready for that Dre album [Detox]? B-Real: We’ve all been

waiting for it. The album is definitely overdue. I don’t care when

it comes out, as long as it comes Will

DJ Muggs be returning to the Rise Up tour at some point or has he left

the tour and/or group permanently? B-Real: Well, there’s

not a tour yet. But Muggs hasn’t been performing with us for a while.

But we’re still working with him. Right now we’ve got Juilo G. A

lot of people don’t know the history of Julio G. He pretty much introduced

us to Muggs. But yea, we definitely still all work together. Do you consider

yourself Hip-Hop legends? B-Real: That’s not up

to us. That’s up to the people. I don’t walk around thinking to

myself, like oh, I’m a Hip Hop Legend! (Laughs) There might

be a lot fans feel that way and that’s all that really matters. There’s

been some news coverage about how in California, if marijuana is to

become legalized, the economy is projected to rise to 1.4 billion dollars

over the course of one year. What are your thoughts on the legalization

of marijuana in the United States? B-Real: California definitely

needs it. I think if it’s done in California, California will be the

template. I think the government has started to get wise to the fact

that it’s something that will help us. So hopefully soon, they’ll

vote on it and decide that this is something that we really need. If

you think about ten years ago, there were only maybe three states that

allowed medical marijuana, California being one of them. Yea, New

Jersey just recently passed medical marijuana legislation. B-Real: Oh, ok. So now,

there are 17 states, being that Jersey just came in. And each

state has different rules and guidelines but the fact that it’s in

place, tells you that the American people want that s**t. They know

what’s going on.B-Real: They know what’s

going on. You think about it like this, the jails are over crowded with

all these people serving time for marijuana related charges. They cram

all these people together, meanwhile, you got all these people committing

real crimes like murder, rape and robbery. It’s ridiculous. They could

alleviate a lot of this s###, by simply legalizing marijuana. But we

could go on all day about this (Laughs). Yea, we

could. Ok, so, you talked earlier about passing the torch. Given your

old beef with Ice Cube, what are your thoughts on his new beef with

some of the newer artists? B-Real: Well you know,

our beef with Cube was different than what he’s going through with

these young artists right now. He’s gotta a point man, he don’t

owe anybody nothing. That’s just the reality of it. He doesn’t own

them nothing. At the same time, you know, (Laughs) it’s like, these

guys ain’t getting no love from the radio, they ain’t getting love

from nobody. But once and a while we gotta show these guys some love.

These are the next generation of dudes so we have to support them. But

as far as what’s going on with that, he don’t owe nobody s**t man.

He didn’t get no hand outs. He had to grind for everything. He had

to work for everything he has. From the time he was with NWA to when

he left. He had to grind out after that. He did that. It wasn’t like

somebody was like “Hey Cube, here’s your spot, go do your thing.” You

know so, I think that’s a feeling that he’s entitled to. Lastly,

who is your top five, dead or alive, male or female? B-Real: Aw man, I would

have to say KRS One, Eminem, Rakim, Jay-Z and Ice Cube.

Cypress Hill’s ninth

studio album, Rise Up will be in stores globally on Tuesday,

April 20, 2010. For more information on Cypress Hill’s music, live

shows and upcoming projects, visit