Sen Dog hated driving all the way to Gardena. But as B-Real was buying the weed, Sen begrudgingly agreed to drive him home after every session. Things were starting to get serious now. Muggs had convinced them to quit their day jobs, and they had a few good demos recorded.

As they pulled up to B’s apartment block, they saw a tedious yet familiar sight: police. They were completely clean — they’d smoked all their weed at the studio, and stopped carrying guns around months ago. But they knew they’d be searched. Had it been two years ago, maybe they would have found something. But not tonight. All they had was notepads filled with lyrics.

After running through all the usual questions — “Where you coming from? Are you gangbangers? IDs, licences, blah, blah, blah” — one of the feds picked up B-Real’s notepad. B saw the fed’s lips moving as he read the opening four lines of ‘Pigs’, the song they’d just been recording. This pig harassed the whole neighbourhood; this pig worked at the station; this pig he killed my homeboy; so that fuckin’ pig went on a vacation. The fed called his partner over, chuckling. “What’s this? You guys rappers or something?” “Yeah, we’re making an album,” B-Real replied. “Alright, well, look. I’m gonna let you guys go tonight,” said the fed. “But remember: this pig gave you a break. Now get the fuck outta here.”

B-Real laughs as he tells this story more than three decades later. He, Sen Dog and DJ Muggs became Cypress Hill, named after a street in South Gate, California, where the three of them used to hang out as teenagers. After years of practising, recording and re-recording demos, they released their eponymous debut album in 1991. ‘Pigs’ was the opening track, a comedic, cartoonish cousin to NWA’s ‘Fuck Tha Police’.

All three founding members of the band speak on separate phone calls. Now in their fifties, each of them is warm and forthcoming, true to the affable, stoned image that has won them many friends and admirers over the last 30 years. Just don’t ask Muggs what records he sampled on the album. But more on that later.

Continue reading at