The first thing I noticed as Cypress Hill strolled into NPR headquarters was Sen Dog cradling his signature bucket hat. I asked him if my assumptions were correct; it was indeed the original hat seen in all the videos from the early ’90s. Before I could process that confirmation, B Real asked me, “Yo, is your greenroom a greenroom?” We got everything we expected and more from Cypress Hill at the Tiny Desk.
While the term “pioneer” is used loosely in pop culture today, few terms describe Cypress Hill’s impact over the past three decades more adequately. They are the first Latino hip-hop group to achieve platinum and multi-platinum status. B Real, Sen and producer DJ Muggs crafted a sound in the ’90s that stretched beyond regional boundaries. It was dark, psychedelic and at times directly addressed mental health before the topic was commonplace. Many dismissed the group as “stoner rappers,” yet the members were fervent advocates for the legalization of weed long before it came to fruition.
Touring members Eric Bobo and DJ Lord joined the duo along with Money Mark from Beastie Boys fame. The band summoned a horn section to fill out this rare minimalist approach to five, funky Cypress Hill things. Between each song, B Real took his time to shed some historic light on the group’s journey thus far.