Cypress Hill were way ahead of their time. In 1991, the hip-hop group's self-titled debut album opened with the song "Pigs":
This pig harassed the whole neighborhood
Well this pig worked at the station
This pig he killed my homeboy
So that fuckin' pig went on a vacation
Thirty years later, police are still harassing whole neighborhoods. In the case of Cypress Hill, who consist of three Latins and one white, Latin Lives Matter.
Cypress Hill and other rap groups like N.W.A. were fearless, letting listeners know what was really happening on the mean streets of Compton.
"Pigs" kicks off the 19-track Cypress Hill Extended Edition of that breakthrough album featuring the original trio - rappers B-Real and Sen Dogg and DJ Muggs. This 30th anniversary reissue includes the album's 16 songs, plus three additional tracks.
Some of the band's best-known numbers are on this album: "Hand on the Pump," "I Could Just Kill a Man" and "Pigs." It was recorded the same year Rodney King was assaulted by Los Angeles police. Both B-Real and Sen Dog grew up in L.A., and B-Real sold drugs and was a gangbanger before joining the group.
The lyrics were harsh:
I'm headed up the river with a boat and no paddle
And I'm handin' out beatdowns
Here is something you can't understand
How I could just kill a man
But the messages were clear: Cypress Hill and other rap groups like N.W.A. were fearless, letting listeners know what was really happening on the mean streets of Compton.
The album is also relelentlessly funky, due to Muggs' love of horn riffs and R&B beats, on tracks like "LIght Another," "The Phuncky Feel One" and "The Funky Cypress Hill Shit"
Another key element is the Latin vibe, with "Latin Lingo" and the extra Spanish version of "Pigs (Puercos)."
And, of course, there are the weed cuts: "Light Another," "Stoned Is the Way of the Walk" and "Something for the Blunted." Cypress were the first '90s band to advocate for cannabis legalization. B-Real lit up spliffs on stage, they toured with a smokin' blow-up buddha on stage and were anointed NORML's "Smokesband."
Wanna feel the effects of the high, brother?
B-Real, light another
Just like Cheech & Chong frontin' with "Ice Cream"
Cypress Hill is here to give you a nice dream
The album rose to No. 33 on the pop charts and "How I Could Kill a Man" peaked at No. 77. Thanks to the No. 19 hit, "Insane in the Brain," their follow-up album Black Sunday cruised to No. 1 in 1993.
Cypress Hill released seven more albums since then, but none really compare to their first two.