Esteemed as the first Latino hip-hop group to garner mainstream success, Cypress Hill’s storied career impressively spans nearly three decades and continues to flourish. In addition to being hailed as pioneers of West Coast rap in the early ‘90s and selling over 18 million albums worldwide, the group also became notorious for their advocacy work in the marijuana legalization movement.
First forming in Los Angeles in 1986 as DVX, the group’s original incarnation featured DJ Muggs (Lawrence Muggerud), B-Real (Louis Freese) and Cuban-born brothers Sen Dog (Senen Reyes) and Mellow Man Ace (Ulpiano Sergio Reyes). After experimenting with a fusion of Latin and hip-hop influences to create their signature sound, Mellow Man Ace left the group in 1988. The group renamed themselves Cypress Hill and signed with Ruffhouse/Columbia Records, with their self-titled debut album seeing a 1991 release. Today, their eponymous record is universally regarded as one of the most essential hip-hop albums to come from that decade. Cypress Hill contributed “Shoot ‘Em Up” to the Juice soundtrack, as well as made their first live appearance at Lollapalooza in 1992, prior to releasing their sophomore effort Black Sunday in 1993. With their debut still fresh, Cypress Hill became the first rap group to have two albums in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 at the same time.
Cypress Hill introduced drummer Eric “Bobo” Correa to their line-up at Woodstock ’94, and together they went on to release five more studio albums, with their latest, Rise Up, arriving in 2010. Cypress Hill has since experimented with electronic music, collaborating on separate projects in 2012 with dubstep artist Rusko and the illustrious EDM DJ Deadmau5. In 2016, frontman B-Real joined Prophets of Rage, a rap-rock supergroup designed to challenge the status quo and protest the current political climate.