Dearly beloved … we are gathered here today to decide whether or not Cypress Hill’s latest project, Til Death Do Us Part is worth buying. With that in mind, will you take this album to the front of the line to purchase? Do you promise to listen and blast it in your stereo, to honor and cherish its’ good name, and forever love?
I … I don’t know. This isn’t the same band I know.
Cypress Hill has changed since their 2001 release, Stoned Raiders. It isn’t like they cheated on fans with the soothing sounds of Jamaica, but reggae has influenced the group so much, they decided to incorporate the style into their music. The first single, “What’s Your Number” shows their new flavor. With a sample from an old Clash song (“Guns of Brixton”), B-Real raps over the riff about a girl playing hard to get, thus making him put in the extra effort. He spits, “I offered her a drink, she turned me down blat/She said, ‘If you want my name, you gotta do better than that.'” He kept sweet-talking her and his efforts eventually paid off. At the conclusion of the tune, he proudly rhymes, “We hung all night till we lost our friends/Till they caught us bangin’ in the back of a Benz.” Other island-sounding treats include an appearance by Tego Caldern on “Latin Thugs,” cameos by Twin and Prodigy on “Last Laugh,” and Damian Marley (Bob Marley’s son) shining on “Ganja Bus” (still representing their love for marijuana).
Although their horizons expanded, Cypress Hill hasn’t forgotten their hard-hitting edge. “Another Body Drops,” the best song on the album, is about a violent experience on the streets at an early age. Over a pounding bass beat, B-Real raps, “See me hit the corner, you melt down/Slugs fly, thugs die, moment you fell down/Somebody screaming, ‘Yo, get the hell down/I’m certified nigga, where you sitting is spell bound.'” Another hot track is “Busted in the Hood,” where a kid wises-off to the cops and gets caught for drug possession. “Street Wars” and “Money” are also worthwhile ballads.
Til Death Do Us Part (titled after the group’s friendships to one another) is missing something. The lyrics are good and the beats are phat, but the record is missing a vow … the most important vow of all: energy. Every successful relationship needs it. If there isn’t any energy between a band and their music, then there won’t be a fan base. When I listen to every song on this album, I am waiting for the intensity that grabs me and tells me Cypress Hill loves this thing called hip-hop. Sadly, it never comes and sadly, I am leaving the front of the line to say, “I do” to another CD.
Cypress Hill: Til Death Do Us Part
Rating: 2 1/2 Stars
Record Label: Sony
Official Website: CypressHill.com
Future Plans: Coors Light Mountain Jam 2004