Cypress Hill, led by B-Real, was the first hip-hop group to fully embrace marijuana legalization.
Born on June 2, 1970 in South Gate, California to a Cuban mother and Mexican father, B-Real (his real name is Louis Freeze) grew up in South Central Los Angeles. As a teenager, he joined he Bloods and was shot in 1987, puncturing his lung. Leaving the gang life behind, B-Real began rapping with his friend Mellow Man Ace, the younger brother of Senen "Sen Dog" Reyes. After Reyes met New York transplant Lawrence "DJ Muggs" Muggerud, they formed the trio Cypress Hill and released their debut album in 1991.
Contrasting darker gang-influenced experiences with an appreciation for Cheech & Chong, Cypress Hill appealed to a broad cross-section of hip-hop heads and laid-back stoners. While "Pigs" and "I Could Kill a Man" spewed anger at the police and haters, "Light Another" and "Stoned Is the Way of the Walk" pointed to more peaceful solutions to problems by sparking a blunt. Cypress Hill were featured on the cover of High Times (the issue also included B-Real's "How to Roll a Blunt" centerfold) in 1992.
In that interview (written by CelebStoner's Steve Bloom), B-Real explained why marijuana was such a big part of their music and image: "We try to give you a little piece of knowledge of this plant so you don't misjudge it before you really know what's up with it. A lot of people don't even know what it's about. A 40-ouncer can kill you, literally. How can a joint kill you? Not even in the long run. There hasn't ever been one death behind a joint. Compare that to liquor, and liquor's legal. You could apply the same laws to weed as cigarettes and liquor."
This "knowledge" led NORML to name Cypress Hill their spokesgroup at the time.
Cypress Hill's second album, Black Sunday, featured "I Wanna Get High," "Hits from the Bong" and the spoken track, "Legalize It," as well as the Top 20 hit, "Insane in the Membrane."
Six albums later, Cypress Hill (in 1994, they added percussionist Eric Bobo and more recently DJ Julio replaced Muggs) remain a tight, touring unit. Their latest, Rise Up, came out in 2010.
In 2009, B-Real went solo with the star-filled Smoke N Mirrors.
"I will do my best to uphold the title [of Top CelebStoner]," the nasal-pitched rapper says. "I will keep fighting for legalization."