Real Time
Rappin' with Cypress Hill's B-Real

While Ricky Martin's post-Menudo posing was plastered on the cover of Time heralding the Latino explosion, Cypress Hill were pasted as the poster boys of High Times. The South Central L.A.-based quartet has sold 12 million records worldwide since 1992, while slipping and sliding back and forth between the hip hop and hard-metal worlds. This year they literally disappeared from the lucrative summer concert tour series, spawning rumors that they'd broken up -- but they'd simply taken their street smarts into the studio to record two records, at once.

See also...
... by Robert Phoenix
... in the Dirt section
... from October 19, 1999

Los Grandes Exitos Español, a Spanish re-mix of their greatest hits, was due out this month, but was recently pushed back to December. Their next English-language album, with a tentative February release, will be a hard-core rap record featuring members of Fear Factory and Rage Against the Machine.

As they get ready to stake their claim to the LaRaza renaissance, frontman B-Real (Louis Freese), known for his prodigious appetite for buds and an infamous love triangle with Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra, jacked in on his cell phone while cruising the streets of L.A. He got real on Rodman, the Raiders, mushrooms, Tupac, White Rap, and Willie Nelson.

GETTINGIT: You guys didn't tour this summer. In fact, Eminem replaced you on the Warped Tour. Did you feel like you were slipping from the public eye?

B-REAL: I don't think so. People know that when we take our time to do something, we take our time to do a good, quality-sounding record. We're not trying to wear ourselves out by touring all the time. Sometimes when you come off a tour and try to do a record, you're drained: mentally and physically fuckin' drained. Even though it's a lot of money, it's a lot of stress. We should have toured to support the IV album, but we felt it was more important to keep recording.

GI: What was your motivation to do the Spanish record?

B: We had been planning to make it since our first record. But we just happened to hit it at the right time where a lot of the Latin artists are making a big splash right now. We never tried to exploit the fact that we're Latin artists, we were always doing hip hop for our Latin fans.

GI: DJ Muggs just finished a record with Tricky; have you ever hung with Tricky?

B: We hung out plenty of times; he's a crazy dude... a real free spirit.

GI: How do you feel about the so-called "White Rap" of Eminem and Kid Rock?

B: I wouldn't call it "White Rap." I'd call it hip hop. They're rapping over hip hop beats; their heart is into hip hop. People are just lookin' at the color of their skin and that's fucked up. I always thought MC Serch was a dope MC. He was one of the first white dudes to get a name in hip hop. Everlast came after him and now you have Eminem and Kid Rock. I look at them like the first two guys. I look at them as hip hop kids, not "White Rap." Vanilla Ice was "White Rap." Maybe you could call Kid Rock that shit, but if you listen to his previous stuff, it's more hip hop influenced.

GI: So, Houston just got an NFL franchise over L.A. How do you feel about that?

B: It sucks, man. We should have a team. We're one of the largest cities. For us to not have a football team is fuckin' sacrilegious.

GI: Are you a Raiders fan?

B: Yeah, for sure.

GI: Have you ever partied with any of the Raiders?

B: Nah, Muggs almost got into a beef with Todd Marinovich [former Raiders quarterback] a while back, before they realized who each other were.

GI: Could you party with Al Davis?

B: Nah, not really. Can't fuck with Al. He sat Marcus Allen down during all of those seasons. For me, Al Davis can go suck a fat one.

GI: If you were the owner of the new L.A. franchise, what would you call them? And who would be your first pick?

B: That's a good question. The L.A. Gangsters! We're known for our gangsters. I'd take Barry Sanders -- he'd be our first Gangster!

GI: Speaking of gangs, how real is gang involvement in the business?

B: It depends on the group. Some of them actually come from that background and they walk it like they talk it. I was one of them. But people who really lived that life will seldom glorify it. The guys that glorify it are probably not the muthafuckers that lived that life one day. If they lost a friend or their freedom for a long time for somebody else's shit or their own, they definitely wouldn't want nobody else to do that. I see a lot of phonies and I see who's real.

GI: Was Tupac the real deal?

B: Yeah, definitely. He wasn't necessarily a gangster-gang-banger like that, but he's been in those kinds of situations. Fuck, there ain't no other rappers that had shoot-outs with cops and were set up in studios where people would kill them. He lived his life like he talked it on his records. I heard Treach say somethin' at his eulogy, that "Tupac wasn't a gangster, but a soldier." That says it all.

GI: Did you ever party with him?

B: A few times back in the day -- around '91. But when he got with Death Row, he just started hangin' with people from Death Row.

GI: I read that you guys did mushrooms at Red Rocks. What was that like?

B: It was a spiritual thing … felt like there were Indians dancing around us. Jim Morrison kinda' shit.

GI: Do you guys still do 'shrooms, or just weed?

B: I stopped takin' the trips a while back. I started takin' a little too much… and sometimes that's not good. So I pretty much stick to weed right now.

GI: What do you smoke now?

B: Nothin' but the best Blueberry Kush that Amsterdam can offer. We brought some seeds back and started them here. Been smokin' the best ever since.

GI: If you could party with anyone that you haven't partied with, who would it be?

B: Willie Nelson! He smoked in the White House and he beat Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling in rolling a one-handed joint. And Jacky beat me. So I'd have to party with him.

GI: Finally, what's your relationship like with Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra?

B: Rodman, I was fuckin' sad to see that they let his ass go from the Lakers. We needed him. Sure I had my personal things with that guy, but he's a basketball player and a funny dude. I say bring him back! And with Carmen, we're friends. We're able to talk on a friendship level. We're able to give advice to one another. It's all good.

Robert Phoenix also writes for MONDO 2000 while recovering from his involvement in the Philadelphia Experiment.