Spin #25 : Cypress Hill : Black Sunday
Musicians on Album: B-Real (vocals), Sen Dog (vocals) and DJ Muggs (DJ - arrangements, mixing and programming).
Cypress Hill : Black Sunday Year Released : 1993 (2018 repress) Produced by DJ Muggs, T-Ray Label: Ruffhouse, Columbia Price Range: $60+AUD Speed: 33 1/3RPM Album Before : Self-Titled (1991) Album After : Temples of Boom (1995) Further Listening : Cypress Hill : Skull & Bones (2000) LP : 2 x Green LP Mood for enjoying: Easy Friday night spin to get into the weekend with a mix of amped up and slower songs. Track Listing:
LP 1 Side A
I Wanna Get High - 2:50
I Ain't Goin' Out Like That - 4:27
Insane In The Brain - 3:30
When The Shit Goes Down - 3:13
Lick A Shot - 3:23
Cock The Hammer - 3:49
3 Lil' Putos - 3:30
Legalize It - 0:47
Hits From The Bong - 2:41
What Go Around Come Around - 3:43
A to the K - 3:28
Hand On The Glock - 3:33
Break 'Em Off Some - 2:43
What's in the Sleeve ? 2 x Green/yellow/blue fleck LP in paper sleeves with writing credits and unfortunately no lyrics included.
" Comin' out the slums! It's da hoodlums. I'm pullin' my gat out on all you bums. So bring it on when you want to come fight this, Outlaw, kicking like Billy Ray, Cypress Hill. Chill, I'll bust that grill " ~ I Ain't Goin' Out Like That - Side A
Welcome to Spin #25 - Cypress Hill - Black Sunday
It has been so many years since listening to this album but I have decided to choose 'Black Sunday' by Cypress Hill for this week's Spin. It is very nostalgic for me and I remember being introduced to this band by my childhood mate, Blake probably at the age of 13 or 14. It was a huge record that came out in 1993 and you will probably know more songs that you think once you start spinning this one.
I do love to listen to rap/hip-hop records with my Sennheiser headphones on so I can turn them up loud. The bass just comes through so well in my headphones so I've decided to spin 'Black Sunday' on the Sherwood Turntable (PM-9805) and Sherwood Receiver (RX-4508).
From left to right: Sen Dog, B-Real and DJ Muggs
Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):
I find myself singing the lyrics in my head before they come up, as I remember just how much I used to play this on CD back in the day. I guess in the early 2000's was around the time I started to get more into rap/hip-hop and nu-metal due to friends or my sister influencing my listening experience. Cypress Hill just had that certain energy and I do feel it coming back again when the stylus plays the sounds of the first track, 'I Wanna Get High'. It is a very slow song that gives you the 'impression' these guys are blazing up and taking it easy before the high energy songs come up.
'I Wanna Get High' feels like the perfect introduction song for this record as it slowly builds the mood with the pulsing siren sound. I would be able to pick that voice that fills my headphones from anywhere as it's such an iconic voice coming through speaker , telling the listener that he " wants to get high, so high". Louis Mario Freese or B-Real as he is better known by, is on point lyrically as he sings "Forward motion, make you sway like the ocean. The herb is more than just a powerful potion". The track fades out with the skills of DJ Muggs as the siren that has pulsed all through this song rolls into the much quicker and faster song, 'I Ain't Goin' Out Like That'.
This is probably top 3 favourite song on the record for me and I am already singing along with B-Real on this one. It has such a heavy bass beat that is coming through the headphones nicely, without blowing my head off. 'I Ain't Goin' Out Like That' still continues that siren sound within the background but it also uses samples from a Black Sabbath song - the Wizard (where Ozzy is playing on the harmonica). I didn't know that until returning to this record many years later and now older. When this track is turned up loud, it is so easy to get pumped up. I remember playing this on a drive to work one day and it helped me wake up within a few minutes of the long drive. I love the lyrics of "I got you thinkin' "What the fuck is this?", Lettin' you know I take care of business. Can I get a witness? To verify when I'm to bring this".
Possibly their biggest song on the album or even their whole discography is the third track on Black Sunday, called 'Insane In The Brain'. This track is used in so many movies now for the upbeat and catchy tune. The record is dead flat on the platter as the crisp sound of this heavyweight vinyl spins and I have to applaud the quality. 'Insane In The Brain' is so easy to sing-a-long with and I like the one-two punch of B-Real and Sen Dog across this album. It originally started as a diss song aimed at a band in retaliation and ended up being the song that put Cypress Hill on the map. The phrase is said to be used by people who are being arrested, they would shout out that they are suffering from mental health or that they are 'Insane in the Brain', in order to get out of trouble.
This banger comes to an end and its time to flip LP1 over to Side B.
Side B starts with the very catchy, 'When The Shit Goes Down'. I'm not sure of the samples used on this track but loving it coming clearly through the headphones. The recording of this record and formation of Cypress Hill as a rap/hip-hop group only works because of the effort put in by all involved. DJ Muggs puts those catchy flows out there for B-Real and Sen Dog to go back and forth at each other throughout, which gives us as listeners a high energy result. They even have time to reference their huge hit, 'How I Could Just Kill A Man' off their self-titled debut album - "I told tha boyz get tha sawed off glock and the rest of tha gats as I strapped on tha bullet-proof vest. Boom! I think I got one to tha chest, Hot damn I didn't want to kill a man, shit". I am instantly transported back to my childhood while listening to this and love that music has that ability.
Second track on Side B of LP1 is 'Lick A Shot'. DJ Muggs pulls us into a more concentrated sound with nice and heavy song that works well with the drum beat. I'm still not sure whether this was a sample or if it was a percussionist brought in. I know after this album they brought in Eric 'Bobo' Correa as the bands percussionist. I like the impact of the lyrics and how B-Real delivers them - "Had a bad dream woke up in a casket, now I can't even get back at the bastard. Bull-shit! This pine box ain't strong enough to contain the Afro Marx".
Sen Dog takes control on next track, 'Cock The Hammer' and it sounds reminiscent of the sound and vibe they offered on their debut. Probably the darkest beat/sample used so far on this LP and another track where the boys are talking about firearms. I have to admit at the time of first listen back in my early teens, I didn't take in a lot of the meaning these songs had as I just enjoyed the beat. I knew the lyrics to sing a long to the songs but didn't understand them all. Now listening back and having a lot more life experience, I can enjoy this album even more. 'Cock The Hammer' has B-Real telling the listener to do exactly that as "It's time for action!". You could use this one as a good motivation or pump-up song.
As LP1 comes to an end I have researched that they named themselves after a street in LA over on the West Coast of the United States of America. A lot of people thought that they were named after Cypress Hill Cemetery in Brooklyn over on the East Coast in New York but that isn't the case. During the release of this album, fans were confused - were they West Coast or East Coast! The answer is, they are indeed straight West Coast.
It's time for LP1 to be put into the poly bag and I've now placed LP2 -Side C on the turntable. I have placed the stylus on the outer grooves and getting ready for the first high-energy track called, '3 Lil' Putos'. Cypress Hill have some pretty big hits and they tend to be linked to either firearms or marijuana use. I mean, if it works and for them it does, then why would you sing about anything else. DJ Muggs is cooking up a storm of sonic sound on this one as my headphones are pulsing due to the beat. Not sure who they are referring too but as B-Real sings, "When I come in, kickin' with a vengeance. Swift of the engines coming like the three little Indians. Stompin' around on the ground on the plains, 'Cause a nigga like me is goin' insane. (also a reference thrown in there to 'Insane In The Brain'). Find lyrics online and follow along if you're into that.
The very short interlude, 'Legalize It' has some slow beats and samples of people talking about legalising the use of Marijuana (in 1993) and adds to the first sound you hear of the huge song, 'Hits From The Bong'. The sound of the bong being used in the background throughout this song is something that works well to make the listener feel these guys are actually 'off their face'. I did read an article that admitted the group were blazed for repeated listens of Black Sunday whilst making final touches. They probably were on an endless loop and would hear this song and feel like lighting up again. I find that this one just gives us a chance to catch our breath before the solid end of this record starts.
Time to lift the stylus and flip LP2 to Side D.
Cypress Hill could have just called the next song Karma but I guess 'What Go Around Come Around' works too. As a youngin', I thought the "Go Around" vocal was a different person to the one who sings the line "Shit, I get real shit, Yo shit, Can ya feel it under my jacket". But it is all Sen Dog and just the slight change in his vocals gives the illusion there is a 4th member of the group on Black Sunday.
'A to the K' is a song that I almost forgot was on this album. For some reason I thought this was on their follow up album , Cypress Hill III : Temples of Boom. I was pleasantly surprised to hear it come on after 'What Go Around Come Around'. Obviously they are not Elmo reciting the alphabet on Sesame Street when singing this one and as you've probably worked out by now, it's referencing the AK47. A lot of people sound like they gave Cypress Hill the fuel they needed while writing lyrics for the album. I know that all hip-hop groups have to have beef with others and if it's between the West and East Coast , then all the better. The song fades out with Muggs winding down before leading into the second last song, 'Hand On The Glock'.
'Hand On The Glock' has one of the catchiest moments for a song that isn't regarded as a hit off this album. I like it when B-Real sings, "Check me and I'll check you back" as the beat stops to great effect. Muggs is throwing in samples of someone repeating the words "Cypress Hill" throughout that works well. The last track on Black Sunday starts in 'Break 'Em Off Some'. A fast paced mish-mash song that sounds like it's all the off cuts from this album, perfectly rolled into its own sound. As I listen I am picking up little beats or lyrics that make me thing of so much of the album we have just listened too together. Cypress Hill have chosen well when putting the track listing together. The album now comes to an end and DJ Muggs, Sen Dog and B-Real are throwing us out of their very smokey studio booth.
Just to reiterate, you don't have to be blazed to enjoy Cypress Hill! They struck a rich vain of gold on this album and I feel is a very necessary piece of '90's music and Hip-hop. One of the most influential bands that will stand the test of time, especially with Black Sunday and I can't recommend it highly enough to be added into your collection. Find it while you can, as it can be tough to locate at a decent price. I hope that you enjoyed our Spin #25, Black Sunday by Cypress Hill and feel a bit more uplifted this week compared to last weeks album (where is Jim Sullivan?). Get involved on our social pages and discuss your favourite moments of Black Sunday below. I love finding new music and Dr. Brendan Moloney, I really enjoyed your recommendation of 'Black Sheets of Rain' by Bob Mould.
Until our next Spin, be Kind to DJ's (even though they do indeed scratch up our precious vinyl) and be Kind to your Wax!