Cypress Hill at Brixton Academy
Cypress Hill returned to Brixton Academy to prove to London fans that they are still the pot-smoking, beats-dropping masters of stoner hip-hop they’ve always been.
A vision of a man with the head of an elephant birthed the concept of the group’s latest album Elephants on Acid. For producer DJ Muggs, the apparition set off a psychedelic journey through Egypt and Jordan in which he sat in King Solomon’s tomb, and floated in the Dead Sea “with [his] third eye wide open”.
The MCs brought that intoxicating energy to the Brixton Academy stage as they opened their 90-minute set with an epic performance by Mix Master Mike on the turntables, followed by the album’s first full track Band of Gypsies. The tune, which sees B-Real and Sen Dog go head-to-head over instrumentation by local street musicians in Egypt, begins with a shaabi Arabic intro verse/declaration of stoner-hood. It then phases into Cypress Hill’s signature hip-hop style with a tribal twist, the theme of the remainder of the LP.
Against the backdrop of a trippy Hindu-inspired elephant with glowing eyes, the California-based group didn’t leave the audience waiting for long to hear iconic hits like Insane in the Brain, How I Could Just Kill a Man and Lick a Shot. They played more hits off of their recent album before concluding the show with fan-favourite Rap Superstar.
With seemingly endless energy and a level of performance expertise that can only be acquired by a band with such a deep-rooted history in hip-hop, Cypress Hill are not just still in the game, they might very well be improving it. A cultured blend of sounds and thoughtful contemplation of other worlds and possibilities is exactly what the hip-hop community needs in the current scene of copy-paste lyrics and recycled melodies.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
For further information and future events visit Cypress Hill’s website here.
Watch the video for Band of Gypsies here: