With a gap of 8 years, it was beginning to seem like Cypress Hill was going to tap out after the mismatched hodgepodge of ideas that was 2010's Rise Up. So when it was announced that the group would be releasing a full length in 2018 - with DJ Muggs set to produce the entire album - there was a glimmer of hope. Though known in the mainstream for goliath hits such as 'Dr Greenthumb' and 'Insane in the Membrane', Cypress Hill are anything but just occasional hit-makers.
Thirty years into any music career, the pressure is generally off. Cypress Hill, active since 1988 and best known for their weed-friendly gangsta rap hits from the '90s, could easily rewrite and revisit the ideas that made them famous for the rest of their days and fans would delight in the familiarity. Certainly, Elephants on Acid, Cypress Hill's ninth studio album and first since 2010's Rise Up, is full of their trademarks -- hits from the bong, puffed-up bravado, and ominously creepy flows or sunny stoned soliloquies.
27 years since their debut self-titled album, Cypress Hill are back with an album that still has the stoner raps and violence that characterised their early 90s work but comes across as more serious. There is also more instrumental experimentation, with roughly a fifth of the album dedicated to intervals and interludes that mix DJ Muggs' sample-based style with a psychedelia that feels very 60s. Put Em In The Ground brings back memories of vintage Cypress, as B-Real flexes over a dusty drum loop and an insistent bass tone ("every morning I wake up in a bad mood / attitude f***ed up, he's a bad dude").
Most episodes of the superb HBO sitcom Silicon Valley end with a musical outro: usually banging hip-hop. This album by Cypress Hill should make the music supervisors' job on season six a doddle. After a 14-year hiatus, during which B-Real and Sen Dog did without DJ Muggs, this seminal stoner hip-hop trio are reunited and reinvigorated - or as reinvigorated as a ninth paean to mind-altering substances might permit.