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Cypress Hill - Up The Hill

Author: The Matchstick
Friday, 18 January 2008
They helped shape a generation with Insane In The Brain. They gave a voice to the Latino world across the globe. They gave hope to the underdog. They won fame for their joint-rolling ability. They are Cypress Hill, and The Matchstick found out what they’re up to for 3D.


Little needs to be said about the credentials of B-Real, Sen Dog and DJ Muggs. Put simply, Cypress Hill are up there with bands of the ilk of Public Enemy, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest when it comes to hip hop royalty.

Though the early ’90s have well and truly been locked away to the book of time, the actions of the South Gate Collective still influence the current crop of MCs and beat makers inhabiting the scene. Nabbing rhyme spitter Sen Dog near the end of a heavy day of interviews, the Cuban rapper skools on the subject of hip hop flavoured education.

“We’ve learnt a lot of stuff from watching a lot of different bands. Being risk-takers growing up, taking chances and trying new things, we learned a lot. I mean when we go to a show it’s what we’re meant to do. It’s our job, y’know what I mean. Having the best times and success that we have had and to acknowledge the hip hop crews and rock bands, it’s been a real learning experience.

“We try to come in and give a peek of everything that we know, everything that we’ve learnt on the journey to put into the performance for the people. We want to be up there and known, right there with other legendary bands; Public Enemy, Run DMC, De La Soul, Cypress Hill, y’know what I’m saying. I want to be in that vein like NWA and all the other badarse motherfuckers who ever shaped the scene. We’re on that level.”

Though the melting pot of creative thoughts and artistic spurts may have cooled over recent years, Cypress Hill remains committed to exploring the outer reaches of musical territory yet to be travelled. And what fans most want to hear from the Californian outfit is news 2008 will bring a fresh batch of Cypress Hill joints.

“We’re cool man. We have like 10 songs right now. We’re just doing it ourselves. We haven’t even started entertaining different labels or anything like that. We just want to get a lot of songs done and then get a deal after that.”

And does Sen Dog know where these new tracks might be heading, musically-

“Not yet. We’re at the beginning of the operation. We’re knocking out all the raps at the moment. We’re going to open it up in a minute and definitely explore different areas. We’ve got a lot of ideas that we want to get down with. As far as direction there is no direction. Why should there be a direction- That just makes people look good. We’re not going into a studio to mess around with a producer who’s going to say, ‘We’re going to be dark and dangerous on this album,’ or, ‘We’re going to do light and happy,’ or whatever. We just go in and record and get it down; here’s the tracks we like, let’s roll with them.”

Along with percussionist Eric Bobo, Cypress Hill returned to the US festival circuit last year alongside contemporaries Public Enemy and Rage Against The Machine. With Rage currently in the country on the Big Day Out juggernaut, Australian punters can witness Cypress in the flesh when Good Vibrations rolls around the nation in February.
“You’re going to see a whole performance, y’know what I mean. When we come to perform, we come to perform. We raise the level of excitement. We get people going. We’re better now than ever with performing. We know exactly how to put on a concert, y’know what I ‘m saying. So we’re going to come to you and show people how it is done. We’re not giving out too many secrets, but it’s going to be a kickarse concert.”

Twenty years in the game and Sen Dog says he’s still going strong. Outside of Cypress Hill, projects with punk rappers SX-10 and joints with his brother Mellow Man Ace as the Reyes Brothers keeps Sen as fresh as basil.

“Yeah man. I’m satisfied with it, y’know what I’m saying. The longer (Cypress Hill) goes the more special it becomes. We were never about media and naysayers still talking about Cypress Hill all these years later. The fact that they are shows we still have a presence and that resonates with me. We want to take our band into our 20th year and then after that, we’ll sit down and talk about it and all that. But performing is in my blood. It’s in my family’s blood. That’s what we do.”

WHO: Cypress Hill
WHAT: Play Good Vibrations at Centennial Park
WHEN: Saturday 16 February
MORE: goodvibrations.com
They helped shape a generation with Insane In The Brain. They gave a voice to the Latino world across the globe. They gave hope to the underdog. They won fame for their joint-rolling ability. They are Cypress Hill, and The Matchstick found out what they’re up to for 3D.


Little needs to be said about the credentials of B-Real, Sen Dog and DJ Muggs. Put simply, Cypress Hill are up there with bands of the ilk of Public Enemy, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest when it comes to hip hop royalty.

Though the early ’90s have well and truly been locked away to the book of time, the actions of the South Gate Collective still influence the current crop of MCs and beat makers inhabiting the scene. Nabbing rhyme spitter Sen Dog near the end of a heavy day of interviews, the Cuban rapper skools on the subject of hip hop flavoured education.

“We’ve learnt a lot of stuff from watching a lot of different bands. Being risk-takers growing up, taking chances and trying new things, we learned a lot. I mean when we go to a show it’s what we’re meant to do. It’s our job, y’know what I mean. Having the best times and success that we have had and to acknowledge the hip hop crews and rock bands, it’s been a real learning experience.

“We try to come in and give a peek of everything that we know, everything that we’ve learnt on the journey to put into the performance for the people. We want to be up there and known, right there with other legendary bands; Public Enemy, Run DMC, De La Soul, Cypress Hill, y’know what I’m saying. I want to be in that vein like NWA and all the other badarse motherfuckers who ever shaped the scene. We’re on that level.”

Though the melting pot of creative thoughts and artistic spurts may have cooled over recent years, Cypress Hill remains committed to exploring the outer reaches of musical territory yet to be travelled. And what fans most want to hear from the Californian outfit is news 2008 will bring a fresh batch of Cypress Hill joints.

“We’re cool man. We have like 10 songs right now. We’re just doing it ourselves. We haven’t even started entertaining different labels or anything like that. We just want to get a lot of songs done and then get a deal after that.”

And does Sen Dog know where these new tracks might be heading, musically-

“Not yet. We’re at the beginning of the operation. We’re knocking out all the raps at the moment. We’re going to open it up in a minute and definitely explore different areas. We’ve got a lot of ideas that we want to get down with. As far as direction there is no direction. Why should there be a direction- That just makes people look good. We’re not going into a studio to mess around with a producer who’s going to say, ‘We’re going to be dark and dangerous on this album,’ or, ‘We’re going to do light and happy,’ or whatever. We just go in and record and get it down; here’s the tracks we like, let’s roll with them.”

Along with percussionist Eric Bobo, Cypress Hill returned to the US festival circuit last year alongside contemporaries Public Enemy and Rage Against The Machine. With Rage currently in the country on the Big Day Out juggernaut, Australian punters can witness Cypress in the flesh when Good Vibrations rolls around the nation in February.
“You’re going to see a whole performance, y’know what I mean. When we come to perform, we come to perform. We raise the level of excitement. We get people going. We’re better now than ever with performing. We know exactly how to put on a concert, y’know what I ‘m saying. So we’re going to come to you and show people how it is done. We’re not giving out too many secrets, but it’s going to be a kickarse concert.”

Twenty years in the game and Sen Dog says he’s still going strong. Outside of Cypress Hill, projects with punk rappers SX-10 and joints with his brother Mellow Man Ace as the Reyes Brothers keeps Sen as fresh as basil.

“Yeah man. I’m satisfied with it, y’know what I’m saying. The longer (Cypress Hill) goes the more special it becomes. We were never about media and naysayers still talking about Cypress Hill all these years later. The fact that they are shows we still have a presence and that resonates with me. We want to take our band into our 20th year and then after that, we’ll sit down and talk about it and all that. But performing is in my blood. It’s in my family’s blood. That’s what we do.”

WHO: Cypress Hill
WHAT: Play Good Vibrations at Centennial Park
WHEN: Saturday 16 February
MORE: goodvibrationsfestival.com.au


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