Cypress Hill, Def Squad & MC Eiht Made Us All Throw Our Hands In The Air (Video)
For more than 25 years, Cypress Hill has bloomed from pure Hip-Hop to mainstream appeal. B-Real, Sen Dog, and DJ Muggs created a sound that made Hip-Hop fans feel the daily angst of gang-controlled Los Angeles, California juxtaposed with the euphoria of medicinal relaxation. In 1996, after three albums (eventually totaling more than 6 million in domestic sales), the RuffHouse/Columbia Records act did what only the elite Hip-Hop artists could do at the time, they released a rarities EP, and made it work.
Unreleased & Revamped is a gold-certified EP compilation from mid-’96. Nine songs deep, the work featured remixes and some alleged cutting-room floor material from past works. At the same time the East Coast and West Coast were beefing in the mainstream, the Soul Assassins were all about coastal unity. This EP welcomed remixes from D.I.T.C.’s Diamond D (who was working with Ras Kass, Xzibit, and The Alkaholiks a lot at the time), Prince Paul, Q-Tip, The Fugees, and T-Ray. For anybody struck by Cypress’ crossover appeal post-“Insane In The Brain” and The Simpsons appearances, this EP was a blunt reminder of the B-Boys who paid their dues the old-fashioned way, and did it themselves at the top of the decade.
Beyond the remixes, the jewel of the 36 minute project lies in “Throw Your Hands In The Air.” Not at all to be confused with iii (Temple of Bloom) single “Throw Your Set In The Air,” this song (recorded in 1995) was all about unity. Two-thirds of Def Squad, who had not yet released their album featured on the Muggs track. Erick Sermon bounced MC name-checking words while low riders in the video hit the pumps and the dumps. B-Real throws a nimble verse, swinging back to his more competitive and lyrical roots (with Sen kicking background vocals). Redman comes on next, in the midst of his Muddy Waters run. In what might be one of the strongest guest verses of Red’s career (which rarely gets mentioned), he takes broad laps with long verses. MC Eiht plays clean up, and finds a faster tempo in his flow than usual. The beat breaks, and Eiht channels even more energy in the second half of this astounding appearance. It’s no surprise that the Compton’s Most Wanted front-man would join the Soul Assassins family later in the decade on their compilations. The video features a number of grabbing backdrops, the perfect complement to such all-in appearances by three MCs (not counting Sen), and a dope, distinctly Cypress beat.
2017 promises to be the year that Cypress Hill releases their confirmed ninth album, with Muggs at the boards. MC Eiht is also fast at work on his own Which Way Iz West album (executive produced by DJ Premier). Meanwhile, Red’ says Muddy Waters 2 is coming to a swamp near you, soon.
All of this is cause to keep your hands in the air this year coming.