Cypress Hill – Elephants on Acid

On September 28th, Cypress Hill released their ninth full length album titled Elephants on Acid. Prior to this, their last studio album was 2010’s Rise Up. The only other Cypress Hill material from this time break was the EP Cypress x Rusko, which was a collaboration with dubstep artist Rusko. There were also a few greatest hits compilations released, which were nothing of note.

1. Tusko
2. Band of Gypsies
3. Put ’em in the Ground
4. Satao
5. Jesus Was a Stoner
6. Pass the Knife
7. LSD
8. Oh Na Na
9. Holy Mountain
10. Locos
11. Falling Down
12. Elephant Acid
13. Insane OG
14. The 5th Angel
15. Warlord
16. Reefer Man
17. Thru the Rabbit Hole
18. Crazy
19. Muggs Is Dead
20. Blood on My Hands
21. Stairway to Heaven

The 4 members of Cypress Hill were heavily involved in other projects. B-Real released numerous solo mixtapes and EPs, most notably his Dr. Greenthumb persona, which released an EP called The Prescription. He was also involved in many collaborations, including Prophets of Rage, which is a rap rock group also involving 2 members from Public Enemy and 3 members from Rage Against the Machine. Sen Dog made guest appearances on various albums, but most notably is the lead vocalist of the rap metal group Powerflo. Other members are from the metal bands Fear Factory, downset., and Biohazard. DJ Muggs revived the Soul Assassins project, serving as the main producer. He also focused on remix work and soundtracks. Eric Bobo formed a short-lived duo with Latin Batin and released one album. He was also instrumental in putting together an unreleased album by his deceased father, the jazz percussionist Willie Bobo. Now, some 8 years later, most of these influences, plus more, contributed to the release of Elephants on Acid.

Unlike 2010’s Rise Up, this album is entirely produced by DJ Muggs, and it shows. There are lo-fi tracks that have a chilled vibe to them, reminding listeners of III: Temples of Boom. “Falling Down” is a perfect example of this, with a slow steady drum loop accompanying the occasional eerie keyboard line. “Put ’em in the Ground” is similar in style, but sped up. The distorted title is repeated as the hook, and is surprisingly catchy. “Band of Gypsies” is a drastic change for the group, with a heavy middle eastern influence. B-Real actually goes hand-in-hand with this experiment.

“Jesus Was a Stoner” might be the slowest song on the album, and is the typical Cypress Hill smoke-out song, with a few religious overtones as a twist. “Locos” harks back to the classic “Locotes” track, and is considered a spiritual successor. The lo-fi beat style returns in this song, and DJ Muggs has put in some good effort to make it similar to the original. The storytelling isn’t as compelling as its prequel and is a bit unfocused, but the effort is clearly there. The lyrics for “Pass the Knife” takes cues from the self-titled Cypress Hill album. Although the group is mainly known for their marijuana and social issues, it can’t be forgotten that in the early days, the west coast gangsta rap lyrical style was their main forte. This song attempts to integrate that, but isn’t as steady as they once were, with “How I Could Just Kill a Man” as an early prime example.

“Warlord” is a heavy hitter of a track. The lyrics are driven with vulgarity, and is one of the group’s most straightforward track to date. The beat itself is just as bold, with bass heavy drums and a singular keyboard lead throughout. Even though it rarely switches up, it flows well with the lyrics as intended. Although both of the vocalists do a solid job, Sen Dog sounds more convincing and threatening, and is a good fit without a doubt. Other songs are the opposite and is quite drivel with the lyrics, such as “Oh Na Na.” Although Cypress Hill can be a topic-charged group, sometimes they resort to simple ganja-related lyrics. They combine that with a catchy female chant during the hook, and their goal of a laid-back silly track is reached. A very similar new song to that is “Crazy” which lyrically and musically, is basically a copycat.

Another marijuana-fueled track is “Reefer Man.” Although the chilled-out beat works well on most songs on this album, this one in particular sounds a bit more lazy than the others. The chorus is a reflection of that. “Stairway to Heaven” is a bit underwhelming as a final track. The beat is extremely slow, with a haphazardly sung female at times. B-Real has a short verse, but it isn’t too impactful.

Based on officially released songwriting credits, this album contains the heaviest group effort yet. All 4 members are prominent throughout the writing process. One noteworthy song would be “Muggs Is Dead.” It sounds a bit silly, and doesn’t have any actual verses. Apparently all 4 members contributed to the song, but the frantic tribal drumming from Eric Bobo is the standout moment. In regards to short tracks, there are a lot. Even though the album has 21 tracks, there are 8 interludes. As noted, the lyrics on the album aren’t exactly consistent, and this isn’t supposed to be a concept album; nevertheless, they decided to include 8 interludes, even though they seem unnecessary and nothing is worth relistening to. “LSD” is the most annoying of the bunch, with an elephant trumpet and a simple piano the entire time, possibly signifying an elephant on acid.

Clocking in at just over 51 minutes, Elephants on Acid is a welcomed return for Cypress Hill. There are related styles to the beats, and most songs have at least something distinct for them to stand out on their own; however, one exception is the complete lack of guitar or anything related. That is surprising, considering the fact that 2 out of the 4 members are still involved in rock/metal supergroups. As for the lyrics on the album, there are quite incoherent conceptually. It sounds like at some moments, the group is focused on what they want to say, but then do a quick 180. Elephants on Acid is an overall solid album, and even with its occasional shortcomings, the group effort is prominently displayed, and proudly is a welcomed addition to the lengthy history of Cypress Hill.

from Faygoluvers


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