Thursday, 30 November 2017

Insane In The Membrane (Again) With Cypress Hill

So another CD chariddy shop bargain, Cypress Hill's Black Sunday for a quid - whoo-eee! I had this on vinyl too when it came out - then - what happened? 

Remember when hip-hop was big? Remember when Public Enemy were fresh after the old first wave - like dangerous music, like grabbing the torch from The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron bad - eh? Yes. Then, well, not quite then, but a few years after the second wave, maybe even the third, hip-hop got out of control worldwide MASSIVE - didn't it? Like many a street sound before it soon every square on the block was into this thing whilst debates about how good it was for the black community and folks at large, what with all that swearing, cop-killing, female-disrespecting, money-idolising, gang-glorifying lyrical splurge - all of which only endeared it to youth and gangsters, naturally. The bigger hip-hop got, the smaller my interest. What this says about me may be that I'm a snob who reacts against popularity, or simply prefers movements when they're fresh? What? Which?

Here's an album that went Triple platinum in the U.S - fuck! I knew Cypress Hill were popular but...only just saw that stat on Wikipedia. I remember loving Black Sunday when it came out, like millions of others - it had the juice - got the juices flowing - but that was then - how would it sound 24 years later? How about BRILLIANT! tHAT'LL DO. sHOCK. tHERE WAS ALWAYS SOMETHING ABOUT b-rEAL'S VOCALS THAT WERE DIFFERENT AND STILL SOUND THAT WAY, AS IF HE'S PERMANENTLY, YES, INSANE IN THE MEMBRANE AND HAMMERING AT YOUR WINDOW TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT. Whoops, caps lock - which rhymes with 'Glock, funnily enough. 

In retrospect it's easy to hear how Cypress Hill got so big and so rich. The samples are choice, the mixing is absolutely perfect with the breaks in your face and somehow this album insists that you succumb, not through lyrical force so much as vocal/rhythmic dynamism. It's not original (when did that ever get you rich?). If anything, it's stereotypical of hip-hip subject matter (violence, drugs, bragging) - yet - yet - after the first four tracks you're slaughtered! Putty in their hands. Well, I was, again.

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