Review Summary: Cypress Hill continue to be Cypress Hill, and attempt to make up for creative shortcomings by changing up the timbre just one bit.
If you listen closely, you may just be able to hear the train wreck as loudly as I do.
The crash comes confidently, more self-assured than it should. It's preceded by other, louder, bangs – however, this accident's even more troublesome in the long run because it denotes the existence of a pattern. And every pattern has a very clear origin.
The more abrasive crossbreed of dubstep had just taken off in the United States a couple of years back. A Sonny-Moore-style conversion across the land, as well as Korn red-stamped endorsement, strengthened the genre's impact even further, despite its shifting characteristics. The genre always known for its emphasis on minimalism became utilized for exactly the opposite purposes for which it was intended – this switch affected not only the intentions of producers across the country, but also of yesteryear's musicians longing to yet again wash up on the modern shore. Why would a group like Cypress Hill, for example, not have another go at stardom? Why settle for a discography more and more tainted with each recent installment? Why not
consult Rusko (often considered the founder of brostep itself) for a collaboration?
The end result isn't quite as frustrating as it could have been. “Lez Go” is actually a delightful track, Rusko's electronic patchwork engaging from the get-go. Cypress Hill's rebellious antics actually blending in with the thick backbone that Rusko provides, but this abrasiveness only works in this track while the others flounder. This is precisely the problem with Cypress Hill x Rusko
– it's far too thick for enjoyment. Sure, it makes sense upon viewing the rap group's recent dabbling with nu-metal. They haven't been comfortable in their own skin since joining their scene, and it isn't a surprise that they would try on yet another costume to conceal a lack of fresh ideas. That's where Rusko comes in, contributing heavy backdrops intended for subwoofers in every college campus parking lot. And the problem isn't if
Christopher Mercer's work on display blends with the group that could just kill a man – it's that the duo seem meant for each other, enhancing each other's bravado until there's not much incentive for the listener to even complete the album. It plays off just as expected, ending on even higher of a note than on which it started, and the 'experiments' contained within are the most gruesome. “Can't Keep Me Down” attempts to comprise three genres into a three-minute creation, and while the blend accomplishes what it intended, this doesn't mean it's enjoyable.
I wish I could argue that Cypress Hill are taking a path they didn't intend, or that they didn't know what they were getting themselves into by creating this EP. That'd be completely off the mark, though, because it's quite evident that this is exactly the path they want to pave. As more time passes, there will be even more artists that attempt to regain the momentum they held in their brightest hour, many of them quivering with delight at the opportunity that electronic music has provided them. There's nothing new here; another once-esteemed group of musicians decides to tread the trail of newly-paved brostep, and end up getting their shoes almost as tarnished as their reputation.