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Smoke n Mirrors

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Album Review

After 17 years in the rap game as the lead lyricist of one of the West Coast's most recognizable crews, Cypress Hill, B-Real shows new life on his debut solo album, Smoke and Mirrors. Opening with a "Stylistics" sample given the chipmunk soul treatment, the nasal-voiced lyricist promptly falls into his familiar flow, contrasting the trials and tribulations of the streets with the up-and-downs of show biz success on the title track. Though DJ Muggs is conspicuously absent behind the boards, the production on Smoke and Mirrors is consistently up to par; its 15 tracks conveying nothing but that quintessential California gangstafied funk. The Soopafly-produced "Gangsta Music" is '70s blaxploitation funk reincarnated as 2000s G-Funk. On the head-nod anthem "Don't Ya Dare Laugh," yet another track whose hook borrows from Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner," B and company define Cali as "the home of marijuana" where "streets get hotter than a sauna." And Muggs' prodigy, the Alchemist provides the record's highlight with "6 Minutes," a seething funk-guitar driven track that allows B to compose a cynical treatise on contemporary hip-hop upstarts. Of course, no Cypress Hill endeavor would be complete without a straightforward weed anthem and the honors here go to the dancehall-inflected "FIRE," featuring Damien Marley which sees B switching between English and Spanish rhymes. Elsewhere, he dredges up more familiar gangsta rap themes including money-getting ("Get That Dough," "Stack'n Paper"), those pesky haters ("When They Hate You") and the token sex-for-sport yarn ("When We're F*****g"). As such, Smoke and Mirrors doesn't offer much in the way of originality, but after nearly 20 years on the mike, B-Real has pretty well perfected his niche and his infectious, nasally rhyme flow, and O.G. vetting commentary on the game and Cali-centric beats should be more than enough to keep fans' heads nodding.

Customer Reviews

Realy good

It's a great album . If your as sick of lil Wayne and west as I am your gunna like this album . Some of the songs don't have that spark if you know what I mean but over I like it!!!

Insane

B-reals a great excellent mc

Keep it real

B Real always has his pen game on point

Biography

Born: June 2, 1970 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

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

With his work in the pioneering hip-hop group Cypress Hill, rapper B Real became something of a hip-hop legend for several reasons. Most immediately, his trademark rhyming style, featuring an exaggeratedly nasal whine and a jazz singer's skill at staying just behind DJ Muggs' already sluggish beats, was one of the most instantly recognizable flows of the 1990s. Furthermore, B Real and his partners Sen Dog and DJ Muggs were the first Latino hip-hop stars, ushering in a richly varied subgenre of hip-hop...
Full Bio
Smoke n Mirrors, B-Real
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