Cypress Hill’s 1991 self-titled debut album was both a commercial and critical success, even if it took sometime for both successes to take fruition. Led by B-Real’s nasally praises of weed and violence and DJ Mugg’s blunted backdrops, Cypress Hill not only got respect in the hip-hop community, but also managed to gain a bit of crossover success while staying true to their hardcore foundation. What would the Latin threesome do next? Cypress Hill would return in the summer of 1993 with their sophomore effort Black Sunday.
Black Sunday would pick up where Cypress Hill left off, with more weed avocation and gun penetration over Muggs’ blunted beats. Like it’s predecessor, Black Sunday would earn Cypress Hill a platinum plaque and heaps of praises from hip-hop heads and weed heads alike. I personally thought that Cypress Hill was a bit overrated, with a few great singles hidden in a sea of decent to mediocre songs. Lets see if Black Sunday is an overall better body of work than our blunted amigos’ debut.
I Wanna Get High – The album opens with some spooky horns, before Muggs’ blunted bass line and slow-paced reggae tinged drums comes in. After a few bars, B-Real then joins in on the fun and spits one quick verse, and based on the song title I’m sure you’re smart enough to figure out what his bars about. Nice way to kick off the evening.
I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That – This was the second single released from Black Sunday. Muggs’ hooks up a dark instrumental with a trunk rattling bass line that B-Real and Sen Dog use to issue violent threats to anyone that thinks that Cypress is soft. This one is hard.
Insane In The Brain – This was the lead single from Black Sunday, and is easily the biggest hit on the album, and probably in all of Cypress’ thick catalog. I never was a fan of this one. Probably because I always felt like they were trying to recreate House Of Pain’s “Jump Around” (which Muggs also produced) with it. That said, it’s not a terrible song, it just doesn’t have a soul.
When The Shit Goes Down – Muggs samples an Outlaw Blues Band record (that if you’ve followed hip-hop since the early nineties, you’ve heard it used a time or two before) for the mid-tempo back drop. B-Real advises all, that when its time to shoot it out with the police, make sure you have enough artillery for the battle, kids. Even though Muggs uses a recycled loop, he manages to bring new life to it in how he flips it. This was pretty dope.
Lick A Shot – Muggs’ instrumental on “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” sounds very similar to the one he uses for this one, but somehow this one sounds so much harder and better than the former. B-Real rolls solo this time around, as he does more of his tough guy gun talk shit, and the simple but effective hook (“so I let the gat hummmmmmmm…”) is the cherry on top of this gangsta sundae. Speaking of sundaes, this is probably my favorite song on Black Sunday.
Cock The Hammer – Muggs follows up the hard darkness of the previous song with a cold and callous backdrop (punctuated by a rain sample that makes it sound even colder)that B-Real and Sen Dog use to brandish their weapons and praise violence over. And folks, the worship of violence never sounded so good.
Lock Down – A decent little instrumental interlude.
Lil’ Putos – For those who don’t know and are too lazy to look it up on their own, “puto” is a derogatory spanish word for a male homosexual, or a coward, or a traitor. Over a slow-paced instrumental built around a loop from Lou Donaldson’s “Ode To Billie Joe” (another sample you’ve surely heard used before if you’ve followed hip-hop since the early nineties), B-Real and Sen Dog talk about how they react when three little chumps try to rob them. I’ve never really felt this song. Muggs’ production work feels lazy on this one.
Legalize It – Short interlude advocating for the legalization of marijuana.
Hits From The Bong – Over a mellowed-out Muggs’ backdrop, B-Real gives details and pointers on smoking weed through a bong (if you don’t know what a bong is, Google it and you’ll find plenty of resources to reference). Even though I’m not a weed head, I can still appreciate a well put together song about weed, especially when the backdrop is as pleasant to listen to as this one.
What Go Around Come Around, Kid – The hook on this one reminds me of “When The Shit Goes Down”, and Muggs again turns off his creativity and recycles a sample (“Get Out Of My Life Women”) that had been used at least three times prior in hip-hop, and doesn’t bring anything new with how he flips it. Needless to say this one doesn’t work for me.
A To The K – Filler shit.
Hand On The Glock – Loose recreation of “Hand On The Pump”, but is doesn’t come close to the former.
Break ‘Em Off Some – And more filler shit.
For Black Sunday, Cypress Hill sticks to the old adage, if it ain’t broke don’t fix, as they use the same formula as the debut album: dusty-blunted Muggs production (though it sounds a bit more refined this time around) with B-Real and Sen Dog smoking weed or an adversary, on every track. Also, like the debut, Black Sunday starts off strong and slowly begins to go down hill (no pun intended) from there. With the exception of “Hits From The Bong”, the entire second half of Black Sunday is filled with regurgitated concepts and recycled loops that result in a mediocre listen. I might get stoned (no pun intended) for saying this, but in my opinion, Black Sunday is not the classic a lot of Cypress Stans claim it to be. Cut it in half and then you half an argument. As is, it’s Wendy Williams: top-heavy, but not much going on on the bottom end.