When Cypress Hill released its debut album in 1991, the group’s staccato lyrics were, for most outside of their LA hometown, a first introduction to Spanglish slang. “We didn’t really have much representation in that time,” rapper B Real tells Morning Edition’s A Martínez. “You either saw one side of the spectrum or the other, but not anything in the middle. And I think we represented that.” The group – B-Real and fellow rappers Sen Dog and Eric Bobo, along with producer DJ Muggs – would end up one of the most successful in hip-hop history.
Speaking to A Martinez on the release of a new documentary, Cypress Hill: Insane in the Brain, on Showtime, rapper B Real retraces the roots of his distinctively adenoidal rapping voice, which began in emulation of the early rapper and artist Rammellzee; the influence of early, darker rock and roll, like Black Sabbath, on Cypress Hill’s sound and the particular timing of their emergence in the early ’90s, alongside artists like Nirvana.