Back In Black marks a return to the L.A. group’s gangsta-rap roots, albeit from older, wiser, and more engaged artists

It’s 1991: The world is grappling with a dictator’s invasion of a neighboring country, cannabis is illegal in the U.S., and South Gate hip-hop trio Cypress Hill drops its eponymous debut. The unabashed Latin spin on gangsta rap, combined with a celebratory devotion to getting good old-fashioned stoned, puts the record in the genre’s standard class.

It’s 2022: The world is grappling with another dictator’s invasion of a neighboring country. Cannabis is partially legal in the U.S., creating an absurd reality in which we have marijuana millionaires cropping up while tens of thousands are still incarcerated on marijuana charges. And Cypress Hill drops its 10th studio album. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Back In Black marks a return to Cypress Hill’s gangsta-rap roots after several years of dabbling in dubstep and alternative hip-hop, and the result is a tight and focused record that’s heavy on both the bass and some fundamental pop-culture subjects—most notably (and unsurprisingly), weed. It’s not exactly for contemporary hip-hop fans, but that’s OK: It’s not meant for clubs, so much as it is for people who want to sit around and chief blunts to some cerebral bars, relentless percussion, and dramatic samples.

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