Cypress Hill's B-Real turns 53 today.
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 with B-Real as the frontman 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."
B-Real in 1992: "There hasn't ever been one death behind a joint. Compare that to liquor, and liquor's legal."
Seven albums later, Cypress Hill remain a tight touring unit (in 1994, they added percussionist Eric Bobo and several DJs have replaced Muggs). Their latest album, Elephants on Acid, came out in 2018.
In 2009, B-Real went solo with the star-filled Smoke N Mirrors. He's since performed and recorded with Prophets of Rage and Berner.
Named for a song on Cypress' third album (III: Temples of Boom), B-Real has opened five Dr. Greenthumb marijuana dispensaries in California since 2018.
He's also lent his and the band's names to other projects, such as Insane OG, a hemp-infused beer made by Sweetwater Brewing Company, and a custom G Pen made by Grenco Sciences for sale at Dr. Greenthumb's locations.
Cypress Hill is the subject of the Showtime documentary, Cyress Hill: Insane in the Brain.