Cypress Hill review – hip-hop’s hazy visionaries vindicated

Every stoner’s soundtrack to the 90s, Latin hip-hop crew Cypress Hill continue their remarkable 2018 comeback with an inspired set of old-school meets modern

The haze in the room ripples, like a CGI time-warp. Everything glows violet; the poor visibility is not just down to dry ice. You could easily believe the smoking ban – the entire 00s – never happened. Superstar guest DJ Mix Master Mike, fresh off the Beastie Boys book tour, caresses the decks, deconstructing what sounds like Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water into a bassy 90s jam. He’s standing in tonight for Cypress Hill’s own DJ and producer, DJ Muggs, who doesn’t tour any more but is still a resonant presence in this reinvigorated crew.

Engaged on multiple production fronts, Muggs returned to the Cypress Hill fold recently, primed with a Damascene musical conversion from his travels in the Middle East. It has relit the embers under this veteran hip-hop outfit like a flamethrower. As Mike unleashes the penetrating eastern Mediterranean strains of Cypress Hill’s newest album, time seems to shudder. We lurch backwards, into the eastern-tinged psychedelic rock that Cypress Hill loved before hip-hop, and forward into the present-day, where mahraganat artists make hip-hop-adjacent Egyptian street music, producer Diplo refashions world beats into mainstream bangers, and Syrian wedding singer Omar Souleyman soundtracks raves. A nightmarish elephant-god backdrop presides over the stage, its eyes lit ember-orange.

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