Sometimes hip-hop is good because it pushes the limits of sound and sense. And sometimes hip-hop is just good because it’s funky and dumb. For every person that buys, say, X-Clan’s abstruse views on separatist politics, there are probably 10 who’d rather hear someone hard-core like DJ Quik rap about malt liquor. That’s rock ‘n’ roll.
The debut album from South Gate’s gangsta rappers Cypress Hill isn’t the greatest Latino rap record ever because it admonishes youngsters to stay off the pipe: It assuredly doesn’t. Nor is it because the sound is particularly fresh--the tracks are built around the simplest of repeated patterns, as if the producers had just figured out how o work a sampler.
“Cypress Hill,” a guilty pleasure, works so well because the funny, fairy-tale-type rhymes about cops and hangin’ and fat joints of weed are exactly the sort of hing you’d want to blast out of your mini-truck at 11:30 on a Saturdat night, and the sloppy beats are exactly suited to the purpose. Nothing since the early Eazy-E 12 inches has made the hard-core life seem so entertaining.