Tidal Catalog #44: Cypress Hill

Introduction: For those of you that have stumbled across this website and are interested in reading about my trek through the universe of the Tidal streaming service, let me tell you a bit about what I did. Back in 2016 I thought it would be kind of cool to listen to an artist’s catalog from start to finish and rank them from best to worst. After all, who doesn’t like a good list? I thought I might do a few of them and see what happened, hoping it would introduce me to records that were foreign to me in the arsenal of an artist I was familiar with. I also thought that it would be pretty cool to get out of the “one off” mode of listening to a new record, years after the previous one, in order to get a true sense of how the artist matured over time. Fast forward to June of 2019 and 250 catalogs later, I ended the trek. I posted these all on Facebook over the years as they were completed but I’m going to move them all over here, starting with #1, in order to expand them out a bit more. Facebook doesn’t exactly allow for too many details.

As with all my catalogs, to be considered in the ranking, an album has to meet certain criteria:

  • The artist must actually perform on 80% of the tracks (soundtrack and rap provision)
  • No compilations of previous released material will be included.
  • However, compilations of previously recorded material will be included if they are remixes, bonus tracks, outtakes… mostly music that hasn’t been part of a main release before.
  • The album must have been released officially and within the realm of the label that the artist would have been on at the time or official releases posthumously (normally applies to a slew of live records)
  • Any EPs must contain new new music and be relevant to the catalog, not be more like a single with a b-side or two.
  • Entrance Point: I knew the first few Cypress Hill records but lost track of the group after the third album.

All albums ranked on a 10 scale:

  • Till Death Do Us Part (9.5)

I went into a lot of these figuring I totally know what my #1 record is going to be and since I have listed to the debut 100 times over the years, it had to be that – but no. Till Death Do Us Part is their 7th record and was released in 2004, long after I stopped paying attention to them. It’s a bit different for them – a lot of upbeat, fun tunes and a lot of styles, from Latin, to ska, to reggae and dancehall lead to a pretty fresh sound for the band after a few records that played out like a slow roll into stonerville. Critically is was panned for not pulling off the different styles well but my ears hear a tight record from start to finish with some nice renewed energy.

  • Cypress Hill (9)

I spent many a day walking to school and home from it, listening to this disc. Now I didn’t smoke any weed, so I never got that perspective and I was a suburban dork so the topics on the disc are things I couldn’t relate to but this disc was all the rage back in 1991 and I ate that shit up. I always expect the disc I listened to the most in a catalog to be the best and it’s still very good and a blueprint of Latin Hip-Hop but there’s a handful of weak tracks on the back end that prevented me from putting it at the top. That said, it’s still a 9/10 because the great tracks like “Pigs” “Hand on the Pump” and “How I Could Just Kill a Man” are so good, that they outweigh the dull tracks.

  • Black Sunday (9)

No matter how good “How I Could Just Kill a Man” was, it’s hard to deny that “Insane in the Brain” is a stone cold classic golden age of hip-hop track. From a killer hook to the fact that the beat is so upbeat and radio friendly, makes this the track that we’ll still be hearing 30 years from now. Pair that with “When the Shit Goes Down” and “I Ain’t Going Out Like That” and you have a fantastic start to the record. And while Black Sunday is a darker album overall than the debut, it doesn’t play out that way until get about halfway through the disc. It’s probably equally as good as the debut album.

  • IV (8)
  • Stoned Raiders (7.5)
  • Live at the Fillmore (7)
  • Skull & Bones (6.5)
  • III: Temples of Boom (6)
  • Rise Up (5)
  • Elephants on Acid (4)

When this was released in 2018, it marked their 9th studio album and it was praised for how unique it sounded. There’s lots of experimentation, African rhythms and psychedelic passages that come together to form an album unlike any other in the Cypress Hill catalog. However, it ends up being a little bizarre in the end. It’s insanely unique but as much as I think DJ Muggs is very underrated he brought the gang a completely experimental project that likely could have been reeled in a bit. Elephants on Acid is the perfect title for this album as it’s like a weird ass acid trip and the only reason you know it’s a Cypress Hill record is because B-Real and Sen Dog’s vocals are so unique. It’s so fucking odd that the second single from the record was “Muggs is Dead” which is a goddamn interlude. Has there ever been another interlude released as a single in the history of music?

Summary: 10 albums, average 7.2

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