If I had to sum up Cypress Hill‘s self-titled debut album in one word, it would be blunt.
B-Real, Sen Dog, and DJ Muggs ushered in a funkier, harder, and more menacing tone for West coast rap on their arrival in 1991. The group was unlike anything in rap at the time, with B-Real’s unnerving high-pitched delivery contrasting with Sen Dog’s bass, delivering threatening and darkly humorous tales of street life. DJ Muggs was Los Angeles’ answer to the Bomb Squad, digging deep in the crates to craft funky, psychedelic, and sonically complex productions with a Latin edge. It’s blunt, like a hit to your chest.
Oh yeah, I also mean blunt in their weed references, being one earliest hip-hop groups to really double down on celebrating marijuana in their music a year before Dr. Dre went in with The Chronic.
All of this came together well on their ’91 self-titled debut, a landmark record full of raucous energy, stoned beats, and brazen, not-giving-a-flying-fuck attitudes from the emcees that’s still astonishing to take in 30 years on.
And gawwwdamn, “How I Could Just Kill A Man” is a wild-ass song. It blows my mind that it was an early single! This listen is absolutely sinister as Muggs’ blunted beat clobbers you over the head while B Real and Sen Dog coolly plot on taking a life if they need to while puffing on a blunt. This listen is one of the hardest hip-hop introductions (this side of a Black Moon track) of all time.