Exclusive interview with Cypress Hill’s B-Real

Exclusive interview with Cypress Hill’s B-Real

What prompted this tour?

The Halloween shows are annual. We do one in LA, one in DC and one in Los Angeles. We try to do it every year. The longest anyone has ever done it… we’ve been doing it for about 7 years here, or so. No matter what we are doing, if we are on the road or we have an album coming out or we are working on an album, we always manage to come do this show to stay in people’s minds and hearts and all that. Out of sight – out of mind, so we gotta stay current.

Latin Hip Hop has turned reggaeton now. What are your thoughts on that music genre?

I think reggaeton is great. It’s just a different phase, it’s a combination of rap and dancehall music, dub reggae, you know, all that stuff and it created a whole other genre in it of itself. So I think it’s a positive thing. I do think that at some point artists need to start challenging themselves a little more in that genre, so they don’t sound all the same. But I think it’s a great form of music, makes women dance and us, we love when our women are dancing.

What is your message now?

As far as what I’m working on now, which is my solo record, I’m just trying to bring some positivity to life, pretty much that’s what it is, just deliver a positive message. Not necessarily preaching but just give the realities if life whether you’re in the ghetto or anywhere else. Try to bring things what you can get inspired by or learn from, that’s the theme.

Marijuana’s been the theme of your music for a while. No legalization came, so are you willing to accept it as that?

People are still pushing for legalization, fortunately, and in a few cities like Los Angeles and soon to be Las Vegas and a few other places they’ve been able to implement medical marijuana bill, which means that if you get a prescription by a doctor you can get medical marijuana. So it’s not necessarily legalization and it’s not necessarily decriminalization but it’s a start. It starts off with medical marijuana and eventually the federal government will see how much money they can make on taxes from it. I think that’s the problem, trying to figure out how the right wing and religious rights will accept it. I mean there are a lot of votes for any Republican candidate running and they don’t want to f— that up. So they have to figure out a way to present it. Like OK, this is medical marijuana, we are getting taxes on it, its creating new revenue for the economy. And right now as far as California, it should be the model, because the state is making so much money off of that. So they need to see that each state can be making so much money off of that. I think that in the next 5-10 years you’ll see it decriminalized and eventually you’ll see it legalized. Its just long steps ‘cause the right wing, they are fighting against it and they have a lot of money and a lot of power and a lot of votes.

Do you have a favorite herb yourself?

Cush. Original Cush from California.

The fans of today are drastically different than in the 90s. How do you see yourself fitting into this formula?

I see it just as being myself, being who I am, being able to evolve as a person, as an artist. When you do that you might see different things that might compliment your style, so I just try to be myself, see what the new s— is out there that I might like. It’s my character and s— so you have to find a way to adopt, cause if you stay one way you pretty much get old and played out and people get past you. So you gotta try to stay current, stay involved with things and see what people are doing.

What are your thoughts/opinions on NYC Hip Hop?

This is the roots of Hip Hop here, it all started here, so we always pay homage to New York. Eventhou we try to make a name for ourselves on the West Coast, in Los Angeles, we realize that it came from here, so we always try to see what they are doing out here and its usually cutting edge music. It’s to see what we have to do to compete or be amongst it, so when you come out here you catch a fire, so I love New York.

Besides yourself, who do you think are the prominent Hip Hop figures on the West Coast right now?

Snoop Dog; Ice Cube; Dr. Dre; the Black Eyed Peas, eventhou they are not really hard core they still have invented their own sound and they are really successful; ourselves obviously; the Game… There are a few, but those are the main ones getting rotation on the radio.

Where is the West Coast Hip Hop heading now?

I think it’s headed to reinvent itself. We need to have a different approach if other stations across the nations will be playing our records. Because right now if you look at what gets played out there on the terrestrial radio you hear a lot of music from the South and East Coast but very little West Coast music and artists. Like I said only Cube and Dre and Snoop really get played everywhere. So I think it will start to reinvent itself and now Game has been getting play everywhere. I think it’s on the reinvention.

Do you have a stand in today’s politics?

Yeah, I think our government’s policies are f—ed up, they are mixed up. The actions of our government are questionable I love America I was born and raised here. I love my country and I love the people, but our government, the way they take action on things and their policies, it’s just ridiculous, so although I love my country I don’t always agree with the people running it.

If you were to change Hip Hop today in any way, what would it be?

I really wouldn’t change anything, because like anything you have to have the good and bad. You have to take the good and try to make more with it and learn from the bad. It’s a balance. Can’t just have one, you got to have both, you know. And it has to be variety. There is a lot of bad s— in rap music in Hip Hop right now. It sort of all sounds the same, there is very little originality in a lot of the s— being put out right now, but it goes in circles like that. Cause right now it’s like that but in another year or two it will change. That’s the way it’s been from day one and that’s what’s allowed it to grow and evolve and become a powerhouse genre. Before they were saying it wasn’t gonna last and its been around for 30-something years and a lot of the revenues made in music for the last 5-10 years was from Hip Hop or rap music. I think its great that you are allowed to have such a wide variety of what you might like or what you might not like. I think the only bad part of it for you as an artist, is people being able to go on the internet and download it before it’s in stores or while it’s in stores. It can serve as promotion but when you can get the whole album and just pick the songs you want that’s f—ed up because it defeats the purpose of why we make music. But it is what it is and you have to accept it and just keep going because if you give up then they win and before you know it you are not making music in a traditional sense.

You’ve been doing it for a long time, since the 80s. How does it feel at this point, so many years later? Are you still excited to get on stage and see the fans’ reaction?

I still love performing and see the fans reactions for sure. There is nothing that competes with that feeling, seeing your music cause a reaction such as this. Just see people jumping up and down or crowd surfing or mash pitting it’s a great time. There is no feeling like that. And I still love playing, so as long as you still love to do what you do you can do it well. It’s all about what you put into it. If you don’t like doing it and just going through the motions because it’s a job and you need to get paid, people see that I think. And you feel that therefore you can’t give your best. And when you can’t give your best, people see that. You gotta be upfront and if you don’t have that fire then you shouldn’t be doing it anymore.