Cypress Hill – Rise Up

After a six-year break from releasing any new material, Cypress Hill comes back with both bongs blazing. Rise Up features a pleasantly aggressive sound and heavy guests like Everlast, Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, The Nightwatchmen and well… the less said about Audioslave the better) and Daron Malakian of System Of A Down and Scars On Broadway. Yes, listening to Rise Up is like playing a Mary Jane game of Where’s Wally? Look through the smoke hazed pages and find the dude with the red eyes and white stripes.

The guest stars manage to give the album the variety it needs to break out of the rap cul-de-sac. Even if you only have a passing interest in this genre, the dynamics at play here make it a much more accessible listen. When the sampled grooves almost get a bit too repetitive, you have the real guitars of Malakian and Morello come roaring down 101.

As with all albums that feature a plethora of samples in the mix, there is also the fun of trying to spot the source material without looking at the cheat sheet. There is even a funny uncredited Cheech and Chong bit in the middle of the album that brings back thoughts of the good old drug daze. And with the track Armada Latina, if you have ever wondered how a band could work Crosby, Stills and Nash’s Suite Judy Blue Eyes into a rap song, wonder no longer.

Most of the songs try their best to become anesthetized anthems and many find their mark. Elsewhere the guests add to the anger and give the boys the kick they need to bring it home. It’s been a while but welcome back boys.
Rob Hudson

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