A Tuesday night in a rainy Kentish Town following a grey tinted jubilee was certainly a surreal time to witness a newly reinvigorated Cypress Hill take to the stage. Nevertheless battered livers resulting from four days of regal abuse were nothing short of inconsequential with the huge crowd of punters baying for some retrospective Hip-Hop fun. There was a tangible air of apprehension mixed with excitement following the band’s lengthy absence from the contemporary music scene, it could certainly have gone either way.
Yet when they emerged a little grizzled by the years it was back to the old school as B-Real and Sen Dog emerged one by one to a blistering furore. It was abundantly clear that the band have lost none of their skill in terms of crowd interaction with songs cutting out at the exact point for audience to shout “I could just kill a man” or ‘insane in the brain” where appropriate. Along with gun-fingers firing in time to strobes and the audience bouncing all over the shop the show was nothing short of a spectacle to behold. The mood recalled the kind of fun the golden age of Hip-Hop was synonymous with, represented by hands swaying from left to right in time the bands “yo’s” and “ho’s”.
As for the set itself, it was any Cypress Hill fan’s wet dream totalling one hour and forty minutes in total with a short interlude in the middle. The first half consisted of what can only be described as back to back classics with the second half descending predictably into Dubstep territory. Cypress Hill have never been ones to shy away from innovation, often choosing to make risky decisions sometimes with huge pay-offs and sometimes an unfortunately forgettable phase of Nu-Metal drivel. Yet in pairing with Rusko for their new material the group have actually fallen into the credible denomination of bass driven music. So despite it being a common choice for artists nowadays, Cypress Hill are perhaps the best suited for the sound (unlike Justin Bieber). The resulting showcase of new material sounded great, riffing on the grimier and more credible edge of the genre. Skrillex it is not. Although it did seem to rub a few hardcore skinhead fans up the wrong way which can only be a good thing.
It was great to see Cypress Hill back, especially playing what to them is undeniably an intimate show. They appear to show no signs of slowing down, at one point indulging in their trademark process of smoking what can only be described as a Camberwell Carrot during ‘Hits From The Bong’ into "I Wanna Get High". Maybe it was all the second hand smoke but B-Real (apparently the “highest man in the world”) and company proved themselves to still be a force to be reckoned with in the ever-changing world of rap.