Today we’re going to look at another “real” gangsta rap album, the eponymous and debut Cypress Hill by Cypress Hill, released in 1991. While they are now mostly known for their weed music, their first album was of a different caliber.
What I remember: Just thinking about the album, I clearly remember three songs, but nothing else, but all three were unironic gangsta rap ballads about killing people: How I Could Just Kill a Man, Hand on the Pump and Hole in the Head. I remember being fascinated by those kinds of statements and slightly irritated that I liked the songs. My friend and myself always laughed a little bit about those songs because they were so straight about their lust for violence and I guess we didn’t really buy that. At this point we didn’t know that they would turn into smoke rappers soon.
What I say now: Well, not much has changed, surprisingly. The three mentioned songs stand out, because they are really good hip-hop songs. But the lyrics have no redeeming qualities. They celebrate killing and it still sounds fake.
Some say life is a bitch Ask that punk who dug his own ditch Out for the Hill fuckin up at a party Tried to get funny, put a hole in his body
It’s weird because in the context of the time and the genre, there’s nothing inherently wrong about those lyrics. But they are glorifying and trivializing violence. I still like listening to them, out of nostalgia and because they flow well, but what they’re singing about is bullshit. But they’re really good songs and I’d put them on my 90s hip hop playlist anytime. What I noticed now though is how much they sound like nasty children. La la la la la la and singing You’ve got a hole in your head as if they mock the kid who fell on his ass. They don’t come across as really sympathetic.
But there are other songs. Pigs criticizes the police and solves its problem with allusions to cannibalism. The rest… well, this is kind of embarrassing. A lot of songs advocate smoking marijuana, but my 11-year-old self obviously missed that. These songs are pretty forgettable as is the rest of the album. So, while some of the songs are nice to listen to, the album is pretty forgettable overall, I would say. I remember why I never loved Cypress Hill and I’m only looking forward to their follow-up Black Sunday to see if I find as many good songs and if my memory is right about the quality of this mega-successful album.
Sorry, I hope the next album is more interesting!