Exclusive – Cypress Hill delivered their 10th studio album, Back In Black, on Friday (March 18), which included the single “Open Ya Mind.” The track dove into the “governmental ambiguity” of legalizing marijuana in America, a battle B-Real, Sen Dog, Eric Bobo and DJ Muggs have been fighting for over 30 years.
While there have certainly been great strides in legalizing marijuana on the state level, it remains illegal on the federal level. During a recent Zoom interview with HipHopDX, Cypress Hill addressed their activism and explained how legalizing cannabis on a federal level would benefit the entire country.
“For us, it’s in music and in the messaging and the music platforms that we’ve been able to build with to get you information,” B-Real says. “There’s what? Nineteen, 20 states maybe that are recreational or medicinal or a combination of both? But we need the whole country to get down with this. It would be good for the country, economically it would create jobs and it would do a whole lot of healing.
“I see it happening. When you got places like Florida, that are now embracing cannabis, New York and places like that, that’s fucking incredible. You’re seeing it slowly but surely. I think eventually federally it’ll be completely legal and maybe inside of 10 years. Hopefully five. We’ll see. Salute to the freedom fighters, as we called them once, that put in the work to get us where we are now.”
Cypress Hill has become synonymous with weed since launching their career in 1991 with their self-titled debut. The 2x-platinum album included songs such as “Stoned Is The Way Of The Walk” and “Light Another.” Their subsequent album, 1993’s Black Sunday, further solidified their commitment to the cause with “I Wanna Get High” and “Legalize It.” The trend continued on Cypress Hill III: Temple Of Boom and every album after that.
B-Real, who now owns and operates six marijuana dispensaries in the state of California, has plans to go statewide with his cannabis brand. It’s nearly impossible to imagine a time when Cypress Hill didn’t advocate for marijuana or didn’t smoke. After all, it’s a rare day when B-Real isn’t photographed puffing on a joint. When asked what would happen if Cypress Hill did stop taking hits from the bong, the laughs out of B-Real, Sen Dog and Eric Bobo were telling.
“Oh, we’d probably be much tougher to deal with,” B-Real says with a chuckle,” to which Sen agrees, “Yeah, I would say so. I might show signs of ADD or something like that if I stop smoking weed. We don’t want to see that. I’m soldiering through that right now.”
B-Real continues, “It would be like, ‘Those guys are so rude.’ I’d probably be like, ‘Next’ to every question [laughs]. I don’t think they got to worry about that anytime soon, shit.”
Cypress Hill is currently on the road in support of Back In Black, which is typically nothing new. The group has earned the nickname “the Grateful Dead of Hip Hop” for their staunch commitment to the road. But with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing the concert industry to a screeching halt in 2020 and 2021, they hadn’t been touring as much. But late last year, Cypress Hill was able to do several shows with Atmosphere, so they’re not exactly rusty.
Meanwhile, B-Real is juggling several other responsibilities, including the Dr. Greenthumb dispensaries and The Dr. Greenthumb Podcast, among other endeavors. The group’s packed schedule disproves the theory all stoners are lazy.
“We’re functioning stoners,” Sen Dog says. “I’ve never had a point where I could not function and blow about what I had to do.”
B-Real jumps in, “Yeah. That’s the thing with us. We can get the job done no matter what, whether we were smoking or not. We always had this work ethic, like ‘got to get it done.’ That always pushed us through and that helped break the stereotype that stoners are lazy and they don’t like to work and this, that, and the other.
‘We were showing up in places that people didn’t think we would show up for. We kept gaining ground where people thought, ‘Oh, they’re stoners. They’ll eventually fuck it off. They’ll get lazy.’ If you look in the history of Hip Hop or any fucking music, we’re one of the most responsible groups to ever come across and always show up and always bring it, never dial it in. There might have been a couple shows where we were a little off the rails due to the psychedelics and some drinking, but we get it done.”
Cypress Hill is scheduled to join Ice Cube, Too $hort and E-40 for “420 Eve On The Rocks” at the historic Colorado venue Red Rocks Amphitheater on April 19. Find tickets here and check back with HipHopDX for Part III of the Cypress Hill interview next week.