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Tonight, west coast hip-hop favorites Cypress Hill return to the Best Buy theater. With over two decades of nationwide touring, they’ve developed a reputation as one of the most anticipated and consistent live shows in the genre. Even after departing from their longtime label Sony in 2008, the group have still maintained both their unity and their following as their fans remain as loyal as ever. We decided to take a look back at the group’s 20-plus years of classic moments as a refresher on why we all love Cypress Hill.
“How I Could Just Kill a Man” 1991
The group’s breakthrough single, “How I Could Just Kill a Man,” struck a chord with rap listeners as a track that stood out even during one of the genre’s creative peaks. DJ Muggs’ gritty thumping production balanced the nasally charisma of B-Real’s delivery and brute force of Sen Dog’s flow for a track that appealed to all corners of the hip-hop map. Helping the group’s acceptance (and leading to confusion regarding their origin) was an early co-sign from EPMD’s Erick Sermon who acquired the group’s demo early on and shared it frequently with several New York artists, leading to a bevy of bi-coastal cameos in the video.
“I Ain’t Going Out Like That” (Live on SNL) 1993
On October 2nd, 1993, the group forever solidified their status with stoners and left their mark in television history when they were banned from Saturday Night Live after DJ Muggs smoked a joint through their second performance. Remembered as one of the show’s most shocking moments, even today it’s surprising that both the controversial moment aired, as well as that the hoopla it sparked somehow didn’t involve host Shannen Doherty.
“No Rest For the Wicked” & “Ice Cube Killa” 1995
Another testament to the strength of Cypress Hill is that they’re one of a very select few hip-hop artists to emerge from a war-on-wax with Ice Cube completely unscathed. While Cube had a reputation for tarnishing the images of everyone from former N.W.A. bandmates to MC Hammer, many artists wouldn’t even respond to his slightest of jabs, knowing the monster they could unleash. Which is why when Hill called out Cube for allegedly stealing a song and went on to engage in a particularly vicious back-and-forth, it became one of the most contested battles in rap history. Even with peace between them 15 years later, fans still debate who came out on top.
Cypress Hill on “The Simpsons” 1996
The group returned to the small screen in ’96 for an episode of The Simpsons. Here, they find themselves a part of the Hullabalooza tour with Sonic Youth, Peter Frampton, and the Smashing Pumpkins, which Homer joins as a human cannonball. The group’s appearance has aged quite well, poking fun at the overtly-corporate nature of music festivals, as well as their own marijuana-friendly reputation, leading to a gag that predates the mash-up craze by about six years.
Cypress Hill & Velvet Revolver – “Rock Superstar” (Live on Jimmy Kimmel Live) 2003
While the group’s always been a favorite within hip-hop circles, Cypress Hill’s following has managed to transcend the genre, successfully hooking the “I don’t usually like rap, but I LOVE…” crowd along the way. This might be due to the group being longtime advocates of fusing rap and rock together. Back in the early ’90s, they collaborated with both Pearl Jam and Sonic Youth, so when the the hip-hop influence nu-metal sound took off in the early 2000s, they were able to seamlessly incorporate rock elements into their soundscape.