Rise Up

Cypress Hill

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Rise Up Review

by David Jeffries

Cypress Hill's first album for Priority -- released under Snoop Dogg’s tenure as the label's creative director -- is a four-years-in-the-making, against-all-odds success that earns its victory march cover art, at least for the most part. There are a couple merely good tracks -- “Pass the Dutch” being the most merely good -- that act as speed bumps on this otherwise exciting ride, which in typical Cypress Hill style, ramps up on the hater-slaying tracks and chills out on the weed numbers. Best of the former is the title track with special guest Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, while the best of the latter is the strain-listing “K.U.S.H.” produced by B Real and Cypress-associate Sick Jacken. Somewhere in between is the slay-and-toke “Light It Up” where B-Real offers “I eat MCs up, you might wanna ease up/I squeeze on the trigger like I squeeze on a C-cup,” while producer Pete Rock brings the soul with a Barry White sample. Usual producer Muggs only turns in two cuts, one being the dusty-sounding heart wrencher “Take My Pain” with Everlast on the bluesy chorus. Other genres like emo-rap (“Carry Me Away” with Mike Shinoda), crunching rock-rap (“Trouble Seeker” with Daron Malakian), and spicy Latin rap (“Armada Latina” with Pitbull, Marc Anthony, and a sweet Stephen Stills sample) are explored then conquered, and in spite of all these flavors and guest artists, the album remains Cypress’, or at least B Real’s, as the group’s leader is more dominant than ever. At 15-songs long the album can stand tall after the required trimming, making Rise Up a giant leap in the right direction after the lukewarm Till Death Do Us Part.

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