Beat Street Records

Cypress Hill - IV 2LP

Ruffhouse

Cypress Hill were notable for being the first Latino hip-hop superstars, but they became notorious for their endorsement of marijuana. Not only did the group campaign for its legalization, but their slow, rolling bass-and-drum loops pioneered a new, stoned funk that became extraordinary influential in '90s hip-hop – it could be heard in everything from Dr. Dre's G-funk to the chilly layers of English trip-hop. DJ Muggs crafted the sound, and B Real, with his pinched, nasal voice, was responsible for the rhetoric that made them famous.

With its stoned beats, B Real's exaggerated nasal whine, and cartoonish violence, the group's eponymous debut became a sensation in early 1992. The singles "How I Could Just Kill a Man" and "The Phuncky Feel One" became underground hits. Cypress Hill released follow-up Black Sunday in the summer of 1993. It entered the album charts at No. 1 and spawned the crossover hit "Insane in the Brain." A darker, gloomier affair than their first two records, third album Temples of Boom featured guest appearances by Wu-Tang Clan members RZA and U-God on "Killa Hill Niggas" and diss track "No Rest For The Wicked" ignited a feud with fellow rapper Ice Cube.

After a three year hiatus and with a renewed energy and purpose, the Latino-flavored rappers climbed back into the ring for another round in the fight for hip-hop supremacy on 1998's IV, an album which is as much at home with ghetto street-kids as it is with California surfers. With right hand man Sen Dog back in the fold and displaying a heavy metal influence, the Gold certified IV yielded the signature single "Dr. Greenthumb" and topped out at No. 11 on the Billboard album charts.

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