Cypress Hill
Back In Black


3.4
great

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
March 19th, 2022 | 10 replies


Release Date: 03/18/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Back to the roots...

One of the biggest names in hip hop just dropped their 10th studio album without much fanfare. Cypress Hill are among the few old school acts that constantly sought change and diversity in their sound. Their output in the past 20 years has been sporadic, but varied. The group experimented with rap rock, nu metal, dubstep & reggae bits, before 2018’s Elephants on Acid presented a delirious, Indian raga influenced psychedelic odyssey. The latter was perhaps their boldest move, ending up divisive even for diehard fans. Interesting enough, Back in Black eschewed all these flavors, opting instead of a half hour of classic Cypress Hill material. The dry, often minimalist grooves returned, backing B-Real and Sen Dog’s delivery. These stoned jams are a blend of the first three records with a heavy emphasis on mid-tempo beats. In a way, it is an unexpected move as they always preferred moving forward sonically rather than looking back. On paper, bringing producer Black Milk to the fold was a good idea to freshen things a bit, yet the results rarely ended up beyond good. At times, the instrumentals lack a distinctive melody and layering, thus leaving the two rappers to drive the tune. You can’t help but feel the wasted potential.

Lyrically, the two MCs alternate mainly between socially conscious rap and their trademark weed-centric universe, whether recreational or the constant battle to legalize it. Add some OG bragging to that and you get the usual Cypress Hill picture. Thankfully, Back in Black flows nicely from start to finish, helped by its short length. Despite this plus, I still prefer immersing into more fleshed out trip of theirs, containing wider arrays of sounds or moods. There are a number of quirky and eerie synths, as well as sound scapes that scream DJ Muggs, yet he seems to have been a tad blasé during these sessions. The idea of going back to your roots was a good one for the quartet, since they brought quite a distinctive vibe in the hip hop scene. While I have nothing against Black Milk’s beats, I think the band could have completed this task significantly better without external interference. At least, Muggs should have built up a denser, darker atmosphere overall.

Nevertheless, Back in Black remains a decent LP that comes full circle, offering a tight journey especially for longtime fans. Cypress Hill don’t want to compete with current trends and shouldn’t, as they have maintained a fairly untainted discography so far. Even the average releases shared a certain atmosphere and had personality. This latest effort is an unabashed classic hip hop record for you to either take it or leave it. The only disappointment is that it could have easily been more than this.



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user ratings (25)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 19th 2022


5719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

I like the album and listened to it multiple times already, but the downside is that I can't remember much about the songs themselves. So, it's a bit disappointing overall tbh.



Stream here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tzbvr9BJBus&list=PLciLqyN9QXEvPmJBui7itdV1rVX7oyy2-

Digging: Tim Bowness - Butterfly Mind

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2022


9701 Comments


My favorite (the only) hip hop band (I truly know), will check.

Edit:
"Open Ya Mind" is addictive already (sic).

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2022


5719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

I grew up with these guys and have a soft spot for them. It seems Sputnik is not big on them.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2022


9701 Comments


— I grew up with these guys

I discovered them from Last Action Hero OST and the song "Cock The Hammer". The rest is history.


— It seems Sputnik is not big on them

Not only Sputnik, probably the entire hip hop scene, even though they have quite a following of their own.

I think that’s due to their above average experimental/crossover nature (which you mention in the review), which is probably too much for the mainstream hip hop crowd.

I watched the Netflix documentary on hip hop and they were mentioned in like 1-2 instances tops.

It’s a shame, because their beats and prose (Anglo or Hispanic) are unparalleled.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2022


5719 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

True that. They've been in a niche of their own for most of their career.



I saw there will be a career spanning documentary out on April 20, I'm quite curious to watch it.

rockarollacola
March 21st 2022


1741 Comments


great album title

CosmicHearse
March 22nd 2022


11 Comments


Champion Sound is such a fucking great track. I love that beat so much. Keen to delve into the rest of the album.

hangth3dj
March 23rd 2022


471 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The sun is currently shining and the skies are blue, seems like a perfect time to give this album a spin and soak up those beats.

Pajolero
March 23rd 2022


1262 Comments


As a lifelong fan of Cypress Hill I wasn't exactly blown away by this, but it's still a solid release, probably their best in like 20 years. Just makes me happy to see that these dudes still got it despite their age.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
April 21st 2022


9701 Comments


Good to know these guys get credit for their work

https://www.npr.org/2022/04/21/1093879153/cypress-hills-impact-comes-into-focus-in-new-documentary



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