Highly adored and always welcome back, the legendary hip hop group Cypress Hill brought their West Coast High Tour through Sacramento’s Ace of Spades on Friday to a sold-out crowd. Joined by the rare likes of Hollywood Undead, the legendary Xzibit, and Washington’s Demrick, it was a surprise introduction by comedian George Lopez that curiously punctuated the evening’s performances.
Overall, the sold-out show was a clear example of Cypress Hill’s ability to cross audiences, while staying true and representing its unique brand of hip hop. However, less than a year after the group’s lively appearance at the historic High Times Cannabis Cup at Cal Expo, Friday’s crowd was surprisingly underwhelming. Regardless, B-Real, Sen Dog, DJ Lord and Eric Bobo rocked Ace of Spades like the legends they are.
In support of their latest album, “Elephants on Acid,” we spoke with Sen Dog earlier this month in regard to the West Coast High Tour, their first studio album in eight years and the influence the group has had on hip hop, Latinos and marijuana culture as a whole.
“This is what we’ve been talking about for 28 years,” said Sen Dog in regard to the legalization movement. “It’s good to see these changes come around and when we get a chance to perform in these states, you know, we feel victorious, we feel like, these are the things we’ve been talking about for years and now it’s happening and it’s awesome to see that s**t in our lifetime. So once we get to the event, you know, this is Cypress Hill time, we own this part of the place.”
In the on-going conversation of a show’s success depending on the artists versus the audience, Cypress Hill certainly makes a strong case for the artists. While Friday’s crowd was largely a mixture of Hollywood Undead and Cypress Hills fans, the initial confusion to see these two groups together was ultimately set aside as the two deviating brands of sound exhausted fans with high-octane performances.
“We want somebody that wants to take on the world,” said Sen Dog in reference to Hollywood Undead’s presence on this tour. “To be a good band, the biggest band, and you know, the same kind of way that we think. We want whoever is with us to have that same attitude, as well, and so far the tour is working out. Their fans and our fans are meshing well and they give a big show, so that’s what that’s all about.”
While the crowds were rightfully exhausted from the energy that preceded Cypress Hill’s closing set, those who were there for the main show would not be disappointed as comedian George Lopez sparked the performance with a proper call-and-response for the band. With a strong vocation for Latino representation and a newly-branded cannabis company of his own, seeing Lopez and Cypress Hill together is the type of match many Californians are proud to root for.
As their brand stands the test of time, being one of the most successful Latino groups in this country’s history, seeing Spanish music grow in the United States has brought a sense of pride to Sen Dog and the group.
“We see not just hip hop, you know, Latino hip hop grow, but we’ve seen just Spanish music grow period and I think it’s been a long time coming,” said Sen Dog. “I’m proud to see all the Latinos and Mexicanos and Cubanos and Puertorriqueños, everybody, get their respect, but I feel like we’re a very talented society, culture, and we’re constantly giving birth to brand new styles, brand new artists that are coming, you know? These are kids that are influenced by Cypress Hill, or whatever it is, and they’re taking the torch and running with it, picking it up and going with it and that makes us feel proud that you know we opened doors for future generations to be able to be looked at and labels sign them and pick them up and have faith in them. I’m glad we were able to take that podium and give Latinos that kind of thing to aspire to.”
With their first studio album in eight years, produced entirely by DJ Muggs, ‘Elephants on Acid’ serves as a strong reminder that Cypress Hill is forever the same eclectic off-beat band that shook up the genre of hip hop and made it their own. The hour-long album is a trip down the Hill’s rabbit hole that changes gears without notice, constantly moving forward to the other side. When asked what the album’s title signifies, Sen Dog offers the chance for everyone to make their own assumptions, but is quick to give his own personal interpretation.
“We are the elephants. And an elephant is a sign of spirituality, and also a sign of good fortune, and a symbol of power, and a symbol of something to fear and we are that, you know, we are the elephant,” said Sen Dog. “And the acid is the music there that we give, that we brought forward so that you could feel better off of it, you know what I mean? Listen to this album and feel good about hip hop and feel good about being a Cypress Hill fan.”
For more information on Cypress Hill and “Elephants on Acid,” visit CypressHill.com.