B-Real has much to brag about considering his history as member of legendary West Coast collective Cypress Hill. The Southern California-based group who blessed the world “Insane In The Brain” were among the original propagators of something that would technically evolve into Hip Hop’s sub-genre of stoner raps. Years and several albums later, the group has more than solidified their place within the culture. Stepping out on his own, B-Real could be known as one blueprint on successfully transitioning from group member to solo artist. However, he’ll be the first to remind everyone that he’ll forever be a member of the first Latin-American group to earn a platinum plaque.
When DX gets a chance to speak with B-Real, he’s doing interviews with various members of the press at Downtown Los Angeles marijuana dispensary the Kush Valley Collective. In promotion of his recently released The Prescription, sessions are taking place inside a van replicating the Mystery Machine from iconic animated series Scooby-Doo. Due to B-Real’s (government name Louis Freese) ingrained relationship with stoner culture, everything about this situation makes more than enough sense. Behind the van sits an area where attendees drink, smoke and just hang out. Of course, tracks from The Prescription blare from the dispensary’s inside where the “real magic” is taking place. Donning that west coast look, including hoodie and shades, he takes various photo ops with fans and notable key figures in weed culture like Tommy Chong before hand.
It’s a fun time, the type of vibe B-Real’s been delivery since the beginning of his career. Good ol’ Southern California relaxation brought by a project that sees some slick experimentation from someone who once spit “And making you disassemble the microphone, return of the cyclone, smoking of the pipe blown, I and my disciple got you in a blindfold.” Also a highlight of his new alter ego Dr. Greenthumb, the project features a sound more in line with today’s new crop of emcees ranging from A$AP Ferg to Ab-Soul. Doesn’t mean he’s forgotten what made him such an iconic figure within Hip Hop, there’s still plenty there for the day ones. Matter of fact, B-Real manages to even bring Snoop along for “Anybody” featuring KingFly.
Taking time to chat, B-Real describes everything that inspired the making of The Prescription, and Hip Hop’s place within marijuana culture among others.
B-Real Talks ‘The Prescription’
DX: How’s your day going?
B-Real: Good, it was a busy day. Filmed a video to one of the songs from The Prescription and rolled right into this.
DX: From what I listened to, The Prescription is a dope project. Really enjoying that “Dabs” joint that was produced by The Futuristiks.
B-Real: That’s one of my favorites too. What’s funny is that I use to have a studio in Chatsworth, California with Xzibit and a few other business partners of mine. The Futuristiks use to work out of that studio. They were in my B Room for a minute. I always knew about them and they always had banging beats. It was about finding the right project to use something from them. When I did this Dr. GreenThumb shit, I was doing this more along the lines of this new sound. The new music that you hear now as opposed to the throwback shit. They came with a heater and I had to get on it.
B-Real: It’s good because I like them. They’re actually dope MCs. It’s good to get with the new generation that are actually really spitting. They’re making good songs but spitting too. That’s what I like, the versatility in that. You don’t see that from many of the new generation of rappers but them; definitely see that shit. That’s why I fuck with them.
DX: There’s also that joint you have with Ab-Soul. What’s that working relationship with him like? I’m assuming you guys smoked tons of weed.
B-Real: He’s the coolest mutha fucker ever man. He came in the studio and boom just like that. Had his chorus and verse, boom. He picked the beat; it was one of his. We were like, yo Ab we want to invite you to get on this joint with us. He came in and we all just started from scratch then he was like I got a couple of beats for you. He played some shit and we were like oh shit, that’s it right there. He was that fast. He’s really cool man, he gets stoned like a mutha fucker in which I can relate. He’s one of my favorites man. Shout out to Soulo.
DX: Any thoughts on the TDE movement in particular?
B-Real: I think they’re all dope man. I think they represent Cali really well. I think everybody is different. Nobody sounds alike and everyone has their own sound. That’s also what I love about that shit because you don’t hear none of them piggybacking off of one another. They’re all doing their own thing. That’s what you want to see.
B-Real Talks Hip Hop’s Place in Marijuana Culture
DX: Snoop is on the project as well.
B-Real: Yeah man gotta go with my OG Dogg.
DX: You guy’s relationship goes way back. Must be awesome for you guys to grow with each other professionally and as friends considering you guys started in your early twenties. Now you guys are in your forties living real adult lives.
B-Real: It’s great because he keeps it moving like nobody. Snoop is a busy man, he’s on it. I try to stay on it in my lane and we always find a way to work with each other because we have a big mutual respect for each other as people. Before music and anything like that, as people, this is my friend. He respects me and I respect him. We always got love for each other. In the game that we so happen to be in with each other which is music and entertainment and weed culture, we always find a way to work with each other and there’s a chemistry there. It’s always good and we have fun. He’s a fun dude and whenever we work together, we chef the fuck out. We have many laughs and crazy discussions as stoners do. That’s one of my homies. Whenever he hits me up, he’s like what do you want to do and I’m the same. I’ll be like Snoop, I need you on this and he’ll just send his verse over.
DX: Do you feel as if Hip Hop has placed itself on the forefront in regards to the legalization of marijuana?
B-Real: Yeah, I guess we pretty much like were at the forefront and then people came in with us. I wouldn’t say so much after us because there wasn’t too much after Red and Meth and Snoop Dogg and them were talking about the shit right along with us. Maybe we were the first but I look at it as people came with us because I never looked at that shit as territorial because for me. I believed in the movement so much that I felt the more of us that talked about it, made it a stronger push, made it a stronger argument and look where we are. 91 till now in that whole culture. There are 16, 17 states, maybe 19 that have legislation with medical marijuana and two that are outright legal to consume. Us pushing together made that happen I think. It was definitely a part of that happening. If we would have gotten on some territorial shit, no I was the one who started it or we were the ones that started this or shit like that, it would have fragmented the movement and we wouldn’t have the gains we have now. So for me we all did it together even if it was through individual efforts.
DX: A few months ago Hip Hop had a big win when 2 Chainz successfully debated Nancy Grace on marijuana legalization. Ever get a chance to ever check that out?
B-Real: Yeah man that was hilarious. I mean 2 Chainz was trying to speak his mind and he even possibly did it for more publicity but Nancy Grace know exactly what she was doing. She didn’t get anyone who was at the forefront to debate with her. You know? Because if she does get someone who is actually knowledgeable, she might get thrown a curveball that she’s never heard of. She can’t be made to look bad on her shit. They want to get the person who doesn’t know that much about the movement so they can throw those questions that you really can’t answer.
DX: So do you think he did a good job during the debate?
B-Real: I felt he did a good job for himself. I think he could have had more knowledge about the game in oppose to the argument that he chose because there were so many arguments he could have thrown at her. But, at least he had the balls to go there and face her knowing that she was going to flip it. Hey, if I was on that show, obviously she’d try to flip it too on me. It would be just a flipping match. Flip for flop.
B-Real Explains His Dr. GreenThumb Persona
DX: If you could explain to me, what’s the difference between B-Real and Dr. GreenThumb. Are they one in the same or two separate personalities?
B-Real: They’re sort-of the same but the difference is that the way I look at Dr. GreenThumb is uninhibited. So I can do a style of music that I want to do because it doesn’t fall under the Cypress Hill umbrella. It doesn’t fall under any sort of raw Hip Hop umbrella. It’s really its own thing. With me as B-Real with Cypress Hill and Serial Killers, to an effect, that’s my raw Hip Hop. Cause I’m a gemini man, I flip sides like that. One minute I’m over here and the next I’m over there. That’s how I look at it with the Dr. GreenThumbshit. What I do with B-Real is that raw Hip Hop shit. That’s my first love, that’s my roots; how I came into the game. Dr. GreenThumb is me being artistic in a sense that I’m going to do shit outside of the box of what I do. It’s what I do outside of the box within Hip Hop. What Cypress Hill does is outside of the box as well but what I’m doing is outside of that. I don’t know if that sounds crazy but that’s how I have to look at it because I didn’t want to expect an extension of a Cypress Hill record with my solo shit. I didn’t want to do that. Why would I do a solo record that sounds like Cypress Hill?
DX: Yeah I understand. A lot of artist who come from groups have a difficult time make that transition to being a solo artist.
B-Real: I totally know how to do. I’m doing it and here it is, The Prescription. I let the music speak for itself. I didn’t run all the way away because there is Hip Hop shit there. The other half of the project is the transition from B-Real to Dr. GreenThumb. That’s why you look at the eleven songs, there is five that are B-Real and six that are Dr. GreenThumb. It’s the transition.
DX: Was there something sonically influenced Dr. GreenThumb in regards to the project?
B-Real: You know listening to the A$AP Mob and shit like that. Seeing what Lil Wayne and Drake was doing. Even Nicki Minaj; all these mutha fuckers. Ace Hood and all them cats. Even the newer cats out. There are mutha fuckers who are putting out bangers. Though some are really ridiculous, there are some bangers out there. What can I say? Future has a new one out there that’s fucking hard. Cause I DJ and when I started DJing again, I started playing newer shit. I’m around the DJs in the club playing new shit constantly so it put me on the game for the new shit. I started listening to that shit and I saw the effect it had on people in the club and I was like this shit is hard. I started appreciating it on a different level. Then I was like I’m going to start doing this shit as Dr. GreenThumb; do my version of it. That’s how it all came about. It started from me DJing and then I thought to put out a Dr. GreenThumb record out and call it The Prescription. I didn’t end up doing all trap shit. I just cut it in half, half Hip Hop shit and half trap shit. Didn’t want to make it too much of a departure which is why I eased on into it.
DX:We’re in the Mystery Machine. Have a favorite episode of Scooby-Doo?
B-Real: Man I can’t even remember that far back. I remember they were called the meddling kids every episode. It’s hard to say because you know they were stoners. They were hungry all the fucking time. They never showed smoke coming out of the van but you know they were getting high.