Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Album Review: Cypress Hill - Elephants on Acid

Cypress Hill
Elephants on Acid
***and1/2 out of *****

It has been a long time since the classic West Coast hip hop lineup of Cypress Hill released an album. While Rise Up arrived in 2010 DJ Muggs only produced two songs for that record, you need to go all the way back to 2004's Till Death Do Us Part to find the full collective in action. Perhaps because the group is all back together or various other reasons, Elephants on Acid is the best music Cypress Hill has produced in the 2000's.

The long sprawling album of 21 tracks and interludes takes the foundation of Cypress Hills classic offerings and blends them with even more tripped out sounds and sonic adventures; nothing is off limits for the group. B Real leads the way with his patented nasal delivery, Sen Dog gets rough with his supporting growls and verses while Bobo adds percussion to lower the boom. 

By the title and the bands history, drugs are at the forefront of the record, most of the musical intervals bleed into the hip hop which follows making for a cohesive listen from the first pairing of "Tusko" into "Band of Gypsies" swirling with eastern Indian sounds into a hypnotic layered adventure. "Satao"'s intro to "Jesus Was a Stoner" and "Blood On My Hands Again" all lean heavy on the tripped out vibes but the band also recall their early harder sound as "Put Em in the Ground", "Pass The Knife" and the bilingual "Locos" prove the raw drum bass and horror movie fills are still reliable for the outfit. 

Thematically the record holds up bouncing between these two areas (trippy vibes and old school raw) thanks to Muggs production work and the fact that the interludes and instrumental breaks are just as vital to the overall albums sound as the booming hip hop tracks. Deep bass, eastern sounds can blend on tunes as well like the fuzzy "Falling Down" or the self referential (complete with la-la-la's) of "Reefer Man" or the cartoonish sounds of "Crazy" both with female vocals from Brevi. The cinematic end of days drama spewed fourth from "Warlord" is a thundering powerhouse track calling to arms all of us to "march on the devil".

The band's obsession with weed (and other hallucinogenics) produces the best offering in "Oh Na Na" as the players add saxophones, trumpets (from Terrace Martin, Adam Turchin and Josef Leimberg) around Bobo's percussion to produce an upbeat almost dance ready number for the sweet sticky bud.

This large collection of tracks can drag at times, "Insane OG" is sluggish on purpose but dulls over the short track, however the groups reinvigorated direction with Elephants on Acid manages to look directly into it's own multi platinum past and hazy psychedelic future successfully, pleasurable for both long time fans and new stoners ready to tune in and drop out.
Support the band, buy the album and peep some video below:

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