Music

Cypress Hill: Greatest Hits From The Bong

You can't call it Greatest Hits From The Bong and forget all the songs that introduced me and my generation to joys of smoking pot.


Cypress Hill

Greatest Hits From The Bong

Label: Sony
US Release Date: 2005-12-13
UK Release Date: 2006-01-23
iTunes affiliate
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

Insubordination got me fired from my job at Wal-Mart. A high school graduate pondering the use of university, I needed employment. Alex and I, two slackers confined to the same boat, pooled our resources and began the job search. It ended early one afternoon and we found ourselves at his house with no job prospects and weed to burn. "You wanna smoke?" he must have said. Despite not achieving our goal, a full day of job hunting, I said yes. The rest is hazy. We needed music. While he prepped the perfect track, I packed the pipe. As the lighter belched fire and with my lips on the bong, he cued track 10 from Cypress Hill's second album, Black Sunday. Together we puffed the magic dragon while "Hits From The Bong" played. That's the Cypress Hill experience. Clouds of ganja smoke impenetrable by bloodshot, barely open eyes, a perma-smirk affixed to your face and bad case of cottonmouth.

You didn't put on Cypress Hill to do homework unless your teacher -- a nasal-voiced composite of Cheech or Chong -- asked, "Do you want to get high?"

Anyone who came of age a stoner in the Lollapalooza era knows Cypress Hill's anthems for 17-year-old potheads were as necessary as Zig-Zags or a pipe, a place to puff and a reliable dealer (although in reverse order). Nearly every memorable song released by the L.A.-based crew and worthy of inclusion on a greatest hits collection was about weed. A shortlist might include: "Stoned Is the Way of the Walk", "Legalize It", "Everybody Must Get Stoned", "Light Another", and the plodding hypno-high of "I Want to Get High". So of the tracks to choose from, to find only "Dr. Greenthumb" from IV and no "Hits From The Bong" puzzles me. It's not just a glaring omission; it's every reason to avoid a CD you could make better yourself.

By 1995's Temple of Boom, Cypress Hill and commercial success were swerving to avoid each other. In '96, Cypress Hill appeared alongside Sonic Youth and the Smashing Pumpkins in an episode of The Simpsons, ("Homerpalooza"). The highlight: A roadie asks, "Someone here ordered the London Symphony Orchestra, possibly while high. Cypress Hill, I'm looking in your direction." A classical mash up of "Insane in the Brain" followed. Weed was everywhere -- even on TV -- and Cypress Hill wasn't loco enough. Sen Dog abandoned the group, returning only after accepting the limitations of being Flava Flav to B-Real's Chuck D. But never again would one of their albums spark the public's interest.

Still, half of what appears here is classic, even if it falls just outside my own myopic view of Cypress Hill's legacy. "Hand on the Pump" is the flirt with violence type of song the group did so well. Method Man and Redman even lifted most of its "Sawed off shotgun, hand on the pump/ Left hand on a 40, [puffin onna blunt]/ Pumped my shotgun, [niggaz didn't jump] Lala la la lala la laaaaa..." chorus for "Da Rockwilda".

Diehard fans need not buy this CD. You no doubt own the first six songs already, compiled chronologically (1991-95) from "How I Could Just Kill a Man" to the gang-friendly, "Throw Your Set in the Air". Past that, and of the six remaining tracks, only the flamenco-flavored, barrio beat of "Latin Lingo" or maybe "EZ Come EZ Go" deserves any attention. Beyond that, the reggaeton remix of "Latin Thugs" lunges for the contemporary, achieving only artificiality. But what do I know, I don't smoke pot anymore. A self-imposed hiatus, my ability to review this CD accurately has been blunted.

6

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7
Music

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

Keep reading... Show less

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image