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Greatest Hits from the Bong

Cypress Hill

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Album Review

The first proper "best-of" from Cypress Hill arrives nearly 15 years after their debut, a surprisingly long time considering how compilation-happy their parent label, Sony, has been. Whatever the reason for it, the wait for this comp was entirely worth it, since Greatest Hits from the Bong is filled with top-notch tracks and saves the consumer from having to purchase the group's disappointing albums — Temples of Boom, IV — while leaving enough of their classics — Skull & Bones, Black Sunday, and their nearly perfect debut — unheard until the decision is made to dig further. The mostly chronological layout may seem dry, but it displays the growth of the group and all the risk-taking and genre-blending that happened along the way. Raw gangsta tracks and hedonistic odes to pot smoking give way to reggae-influenced numbers, layered Clash samples, and more intricate smoking songs. Two new tracks toward the end — the Ambrosia-sampling "The Only Way" and the tight and hardcore "EZ Come EZ Go" — offer something new for the regulars and while "EZ" is very good, "Only Way" is a hooky triumph. Including the reggaeton remix of "Latin Thugs" with Tego Calderón is a very 2005 move, but it's a hot track and if there ever were a hip-hop act that seemed a natural for the reggaeton explosion, it's this Latin, reggae-loving crew. With a running time of less than 50 minutes and the lack of an essay or words from the band, Greatest Hits from the Bong isn't perfect, but being all killer and no filler, it's close enough.

Biography

Formed: 1988 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Cypress Hill were notable for being the first Latino hip-hop superstars, but they became notorious for their endorsement of marijuana, which actually isn't a trivial thing. Not only did the group campaign for its legalization, but their slow, rolling bass-and-drum loops pioneered a new, stoned funk that became extraordinary influential in '90s hip-hop — it could be heard in everything from Dr. Dre's G-funk to the chilly layers of English trip-hop. DJ Muggs crafted the sound, and B Real, with...
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Greatest Hits from the Bong, Cypress Hill
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