Cypress Hill: Senen Reyes (Sen Dog), Lawrence Muggerud (DJ Muggs) & Louis Freese (B-Real)
American Hip Hop group
Cypress Hill hail from South Gate, California. The three original members formed a group called DVX in 1986 with Sen Dog's brother Mellow Man Ace (Ulpiano Sergio Reyes). When Mellow Man Ace left in 1988, they decided to rename themselves Cypress Hill after a street running through their neighbourhood.
The band played mainly to Latino audiences in Los Angeles and recorded early versions of songs such as the "Phuncky Feel One" and "Trigga Happy Nigga." In 1991, they signed to Philadelphia's Ruffhouse label with distribution by Columbia Records.
Cypress Hill members are known- and proud ganja tokers!
Their first self-titled album was released in November 1991. Their first single was "Phuncky Feel One" but it was the B-side "How I Could Just Kill a Man" (formerly Trigga Happy Nigga) attracted more airplay on urban radio and college radio. Based on the success of the single and other tracks such as "I Wanna Get High", bilingual track "Latin Lingo" and X-rated Spanish track "Tres Equis", the album sold two million copies. DJ Muggs then produced the first album by the House of Pain then working with the Beastie Boys and Funkdoobiest. The band made their first appearance at Lollapalooza on the side stage in 1992.
Black Sunday, the group's second album, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 in 1993, recording the highest Soundscan for a rap group up until that time. With "Insane in the Brain" becoming a crossover hit, the album went double platinum in the US and sold 3.25 million albums.
They were the first rappers fighting for the legalization of marijuana and the band was banned from Saturday Night Live after Muggs lit up a joint and the band trashed their instruments while playing second single "Ain't Going Out". The band headlined the "Soul Assassins" tour with the House of Pain and Funkdoobiest as support then performed on a college tour with Rage Against the Machine and Seven Year Bitch. In 1993, Cypress Hill also had two tracks on the Judgement Night soundtrack teamed up with Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth.
The band played at the 1994 Woodstock Festival introducing their new member Eric Bobo who was formerly a percussionist with the Beastie Boys. Bobo is the son of famous salsa musician Willie Bobo. Rolling Stone Magazine named the band as the best rap group in their music awards voted by critics and readers. Cypress Hill played at Lollapalooza for two successive years topping the bill in 1995. They appeared on an episode of the Simpsons where Homer Simpson became a performer at a freakshow appearing on a similar tour to Lollapalooza.
Their third album III (Temples of Boom) was released in 1995 selling 1.5 million copies and reaching number 3 on the Billboard 200 despite not having a hit single. Cypress Hill also contributed a track "I Wanna Get High" to the High Times sponsored Hempilation album to support NORML.
Til Death Us Do Part - continued career
Sen took a break from the band to form punk-rap band SX-10. Meanwhile in 1996, Cypress Hill appeared on the first Smokin' Grooves featuring Ziggy Marley, the Fugees, Busta Rhymes and A Tribe Called Quest. The band also released a nine track EP Unreleased and Revamped with rare mixes.
In 1997, band members focussed on their solo careers. Muggs released Muggs Presents ... the Soul Assassins featuring contributions from Wu-Tang Clan members, Dr. Dre, KRS-One, Wyclef Jean and Mobb Deep. B-Real appeared with Busta Rhymes, Coolio, LL Cool J and Method Man on "Hit Em High" from the multi-platinum Space Jam Soundtrack. He also appeared with Dr. Dre, Nas and KRS-One on "East Coast Killer, West Coast Killer" on Dr. Dre's Aftermath album. B-Real also released a solo album The Pyscho Realm with Latino rappers Duke (rapper) and Jacken. However, the band played on the Smokin' Grooves with George Clinton and Erykah Badu.
Cypress Hill released IV in 1998 which went gold in the US on the backs of hit single "Tequila Sunrise" and another tribute to smoking marijuana "Dr Greenthumb". Sen Dog also released the Get Wood Sampler as part of SX-10 on Jordan Schur's Flip Label.
In 1999, the band released a greatest-hits album in Spanish Los Grandes Exitos en Espanol. Cypress Hill released Skull & Bones in 2000 with Skull being rap tracks and Bones being rock tracks. The album reached top 5 on the Billboard 200 and number 3 in Canada. The first single was "Rock Superstar" for rock radio and "Rap Superstar" for urban radio. The band also released a Live at the Fillmore in 2000 recorded at a show at the Fillmore.
Cypress Hill continued their experimentation with rock on The Stoned Raiders album on 2001. However, its sales were a disappointment not even reaching the top 50 of the US album charts.
The band released Till Death Us Do Part on March 23, 2004. The album saw the band experiment with reggae especially on the lead single "What's Your Number". The track features Tim Armstrong of Rancid on bass and Rob Ashton of The Transplants on backup vocals and is based on the classic song "Guns of Brixton" by The Clash from the London Calling album and has proved to be a success on the modern rock charts. The album also features appearances by Damian Marley, son of Bob Marley, Prodigy and Twin of Mobb Deep and producer the Alchemist.