I recall vividly listening to Cypress Hill’s ‘Black Sunday‘ on a cassette tape soon after its premiere in 1993, right on the playground as a 9-year-old kid. I was already neck-deep into the various music genres, and this album was a game-changer, disrupting the norm and altering everything. It served as a wellspring of samples for numerous backyard rappers and crews who adopted these bass melodies to weave their rhymes and beats.
UPDATE: NPR Tiny Desk performance video added below.
This record is, undoubtedly, a cult classic.
The true mark of an excellent band or musical artist is often gauged by their second album. Prime examples in classic rock include ‘Led Zeppelin II’, Santana’s ‘Abraxas’, and ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’. Released on July 20, 1993, Cypress Hill’s ‘Black Sunday’ fits squarely into this category.
After their breakthrough with their self-titled debut in 1991, which clinched a Top 40 spot and sold two million copies, Cypress Hill – comprising B-Real and Sen Dog, two Latino guys from California, and DJ Muggs, a white guy from Queens, NY – aimed even higher. “Black Sunday” marked a significant SoCal flag on the decade’s rap firmament. It debuted at the top of the Billboard chart, recording the highest Soundscan numbers for a rap group up to that point. The album peaked at No.1, yielded a Top 20 single (“Insane in the Brain”), earned two Grammy nominations, and sold over four million albums.
To commemorate this accomplishment, Sony Legacy has launched the ‘Black Sunday 30th Anniversary Edition‘ featuring all 14 original tracks, plus three remixes, one rarity, and a Spanish rendition of their biggest hit.
The ‘Black Sunday 30th Anniversary Edition’ is available digitally and on vinyl starting today, July 20th.
In a special celebration of this rerelease and marking 50 years of hip-hop, the band also staged a unique live studio gig. Cypress Hill’s performance of “Insane In The Brain” and “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” captured all the original power and vibes.
B-Real, Sen Dogg, Eric Bobo, and DJ Lord brought their A-game to the studio – an apt way to celebrate 50 years of hip-hop. Brace yourself for some chills.
This week’s Cypress Hill’s Tiny Desk performance was nothing short of a nostalgic journey through their most iconic tracks.
The setlist opened with a stripped-down version of “When the S*** Goes Down”. B Real’s distinctive nasal delivery, coupled with Sen Dog’s solid vocals, set a high bar for the performance. The organic sound of Money Mark’s keys and the touring members’ tight rhythm section brought new life to the song that was surprisingly compelling.
Next, they dove into “Hand On the Pump“, where the minimalist setting really amplified the intensity of their lyrics. The horn section gave a unique twist to the song, adding a jazzy depth that contrasted well with the rap verses.
A particularly poignant moment came with the performance of “How I Could Just Kill a Man”, a song that, when stripped of its usual production, revealed a raw narrative that captivated the audience.
“(Rap) Superstar” was yet another highlight. Despite the stripped-back arrangement, the essence of the song was untouched, and the group’s charismatic delivery left the audience captivated.
The group concluded their performance with a soulful version of their most notorious hit, “Insane in the Brain“. Money Mark’s funky keyboard riffs danced around the iconic melody, and the additional horn layers gave a robust finish to this unforgettable performance.