Skip to content

Cypress Hill – Cypress Hill (1991)

June 17, 2020

Learning to be anti-racist

“In order to stand with us, and people that look like me, you have to be educated on issues that pertain to me. Fully educated, so that you can feel the full level of pain, so that you can have full understanding.”
– Emmanuel Acho, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Episode 1

For years, I have been mistakenly under the impression that ‘racist’ and ‘not racist’ were opposites. I’ve since realized that ‘anti-racism’ is actually the opposite or ‘racism’ & I need to do a better job of being actively anti-racist.

As a starting point, I want to commit to doing two small things every week:

  1. Listen & Learn. Share resources that I’ve found helpful.
  2. Amplify Black Voices. Each Wednesday, feature a Black Artist (or a group featuring Black Musicians) from the 1001 list.


So far, I’ve looked at Curtis Mayfield’s There’s No Place Like America Today and The Crusaders’ Street Life.

This week, Cypress Hill & their eponymous 1991 debut album.


[Album 781/1001]

“How do you know where I’m at when you haven’t been where I’ve been…Here is something you can’t understand”
– Cypress Hill, How I Could Just Kill a Man

When I looked at the albums remaining on the 1001 list, I noticed a bit of an unsettling pattern: there were still a lot of hip hop artists that I hadn’t even listened to, let alone reviewed, yet. Many, like Cypress Hill, featured a Black MC (or MCs) & Black band members.220px-Cypress_Hill_Self-Titled

I don’t think I was consciously avoiding them at all…but why had I put so many of them off until now?

I’m wondering if, given my childhood as a privileged suburban kid, I felt I just couldn’t relate. There wouldn’t be many common experiences and I wouldn’t know what to say.

So when a Cypress Hill song says, “And any hour of the day ya know I might be, Harassed by a pig real fast, They wanna Rodney King me,” no comparable personal memories come to mind.

Or, as in the quote above, when the lyrics state, “Here is something you can’t understand,” they’re absolutely right. I won’t ever fully understand, as like they said, I’ve never been where they’ve been.

Which is why, as Emmanuel Acho pointed out, if I want to fully understand, I have to become fully educated.

And albums like this one are helping me start to understand, a little bit at a time.


Helpful Resources

I’ve really appreciated the first two episodes of Emmanuel Acho’s, Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man.

The first episode is an excellent introduction…


…and the second is a dialogue with Matthew McConaughey.

Both episodes left me feeling hopeful & both are highly recommended.

From → 1990s

  1. Great stuff Geoff! I had no idea Cypress Hill has been going since 91
    That’s longevity

    • My thanks, Deke – and it’s funny, I’ll sometimes put on some Canada Cup ’91 games (to have in the background while making dinner) and think that it wasn’t all that long ago. But apparently we’re approaching 3 decades & most of those players have been retired for at least 2 decades!

      • Time Stands Still!
        I know it’s crazy as it doesn’t seem that long ago yet it was 30 years haha

      • I saw that in a photo recently (1990 is as far away as 2050) – I thought, that can’t be right!

      • Wow when you spin it like that its crazy! Now I really feel like 52! lol

  2. Rage against the machine’s cover of How I Could Just Kill A Man is superb

  3. I’m not sure background has too much to do with it sometimes, it can just be a striking combination of time and place. As a rural hippy kid hearing these despatches from urban US was so exciting, so different. Gil Scott heron and Public Enemy were a real education for me.

    • A good point – and I believe Gil Scott Heron has an album on the list so I’ll get to that at some point soon I imagine.
      PE’s Fear of a Black Planet may be my favourite hip hop album!

  4. My old neighbours liked to blast a bit of Cypress Hill.

    • It’s probably more likely to be blasted than played during a quiet, candlelit dinner evening-type setting!

  5. jprobichaud permalink

    I might’ve also heard these guys, as our friend Aphoristal did, maybe kinda like secondhand smoke from some pot-smoking acquaintances.

    • And I knew Insane in the Brain prior to the list – but this was my first full album. I imagine you’d recognize ‘B-Real’s distinct voice, he was part of the group from the Space Jam song Hit Em High!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Cee-Lo Green – Cee-Lo Green… Is the Soul Machine (2004) | 1001albumsin10years
  2. Maxwell – Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite (1996) | 1001albumsin10years
  3. Ladysmith Black Mambazo – Shaka Zulu (1987) | 1001albumsin10years
  4. Muddy Waters – Hard Again (1977) | 1001albumsin10years
  5. Fela Ransome-Kuti and The Africa ’70 with Ginger Baker – Live! (1971) | 1001albumsin10years
  6. Femi Kuti – Femi Kuti (1995) | 1001albumsin10years
  7. Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information (1974) | 1001albumsin10years
  8. Gang Starr – Step in the Arena (1991) | 1001albumsin10years
  9. Jurassic 5 – Power in Numbers (2002) | 1001albumsin10years
  10. 1991 | 1001albumsin10years

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: