EWA100 - #77. Cypress Hill - How I Could Just Kill A Man

77. Cypress Hill - How I Could Just Kill A Man (Ruffhouse/Columbia. 1991. From the LP Cypress Hill)

Raven Mack: Cypress Hill hit right when your average college kid was ready to embrace full-on party time hip hop, and what could be more acceptable to a college kid than a multi-cultural crew (one whitey, one brownie, and one blackie - as nobody really knew Sen Dog was actually a dark Mexican at that point) rapping about doing drugs over top of beats that sounded like some dude dropped acid while trying to pretend to be The Bomb Squad with a stack of George Clinton-based records? The production on this record - Muggs crazy beats combined with the rock-ish mixing that Joe "The Butcher" Nicolo was doing back then (haha, I'm a total nerd for knowing that shit, because he actually mixed some crazy weird rock-rap hybrid shit that was perfect for getting high and listening to real loud, like this and "Another Sign" by Schoolly D, but it lacked all that "Hey, we're a rock band and we rap and wear Adidas and have cornrows ARRGGHHH!" nonsense of later more rap-rocky rap-rock) - the production was insane. And this single makes the list probably more because it's the bigger single off this first album than any other, and all their later albums either just got too schticky or were paler versions of this album. I don't know what it is about the one album wonder nature of hip hop... I've always kinda figured it's like you're hungry when you're starting out, for real hungry, not the bullshit catchphrase everybody uses now about "I gotta eat, mane", and you're trying to talk somebody into taking you to the Chinese buffet so you can eat like a pig bitch and not be hungry again for like two days. That's your first album. After one album, and you work on your second, it's like you just ate the Chinese buffet yesterday, but it was good and you'd like to eat like that again, especially because you wanted to get some of those bacon-wrapped cheese potato things, but they didn't have any, so you're trying to talk somebody into taking you again, so you try, but you're swagger ain't as desperate today. If you make it to a third album, it's like you just ate the Chinese buffet yesterday and today for lunch and somebody's going up there for dinner and asks if you wanna come along - most of the time, you're not even trying to talk a good game, you're just going through the motions at that point. That's how the rap music is like the Chinese buffet.
Seriously, this is still one of those great great tapes that I get embarrassed to play too often because I remember some of the dudes back in the day who ended up being all about some Cypress Hill, and I don't want to be associated with those dudes in anybody's mind who might pass by while I'm playing that shit. They had a good formula - white dude making stoner beats, mexican who's gangstaness is softened by funny nasal voice and his penchant for smoking the weed, and a third dude who yelled shit really loud to drive the key points home in case you were too high and not paying close enough attention to what was being said. BEING SAID!

Mike Dikk: In the “Jump Around” write up, I alluded to being pretty obsessed with Cypress Hill. That was no joke. This was the first thing I bought in actual Compact Disc format. When I first saw the video for “How I Could Just Kill A Man”, I thought it was the greatest song ever written. It was so dirty sounding and very unlike anything else at the time. I missed that first video they had because they never really played it on YO! MTV Raps, but I probably wouldn’t have been as into them if I saw that one first. I even bought that “The Phunky Cypress Hill Shit” crewneck sweatshirt that they wear in the video and would routinely get kicked out of class for wearing it in school. I’d also draw that skull logo all over my schoolbooks and any other blank surface I could find.
At the time, I thought the rest of the CD was pretty spot on perfect too. I revisited it not too long ago (I still own that same copy that I first bought, which is quite a personal feat), and it’s definitely not as good as I thought it was when I was 13. There’s still some classic shit to be found on the CD, but stuff like the spanglish song doesn’t hold up anymore.
Oddly enough, I wasn’t even into smoking weed at all back then. I was naïve to the point where I didn’t even realize most of the songs were about smoking weed. I just liked the crazy sounding beats and B-Real’s wacky nasal voice.
By the time I was on my third or fourth Spencer’s Gifts bought Cypress Hill shirt is when the second LP came out. I was still too young to be enthralled with all the Frat Boy anthems on there, and the watered down versions of songs from the first LP weren’t any better. It sucks being bitter and jaded by age 15. Not too long after buying it, I traded or sold the tape (yeah, I bought the first one on CD, but was still regularly buying most hip hop on tape when Black Sunday came out) to a friend of mine. If I knew it would only get worse for Cypress Hill after Black Sunday, I might have held onto it. I think the third LP was straight up strictly for the Frat Boy set, and the 4th one was their laughable return to hardcore rapping. There was a remix CD released between the 3rd and 4th LPs that’s worth a listen if you can find it in a bargain bin somewhere. Sadly, their discography tells me they released like 5 more albums I was basically unaware of. Those early singles though, including the B-Real/Beastie Boys “So Watcha Want” remix are still untouchable. I’m still not sure how they went from being this bastard child of Boom Bap and Gangsta Rap to some kind of college party group. I was just too young at the time to really grasp that concept, and I probably called them sellout assholes or something else teenagers say when they’re favorite music stars betray them, but I imagine it was a conscious decision to change their style up a bit. Perhaps there were mad date rapes by white hats at their concerts and they saw a lucrative market in it. If there’s a White Boy Hip Hop Heaven, I’d like to think Cypress Hill would be up there still as hungry as they were during their first record, but at the same time goofy enough to be doing retarded songs with Funkdoobiest and Boo-Yaa Tribe.

Download: Cypress Hill - How I Could Just Kill A Man

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