The Deal: B-Real and Sen Dog are back. Trio releases first album in six years on Snoop Dogg's Priority Records label.
The Good: The unique vocal tones of B-Real and Sen Dog have always set Cypress Hill apart from the pack. While the band may have faded out a bit in recent years, Rise Up is a clear sign the group is looking forward in full-steam-ahead fashion. There are two lead singles from the album that clearly show the influence and versatility of the band. The title track gets a solid rock groove thanks to the guitar work of Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello. "Armada Latina" features Pitbull and Marc Antony over a riff from Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" and could easily become a Latin anthem. Morello appears again on "Shut 'Em Down" – another track with a riff that could be considered a Rage outtake – and other guests on the album include Everlast, System of a Down's Daron Malakian – who offers his staccato guitar work on "Trouble Seeker" – and Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda.
The Bad: I can't decide if I like "Armada Latina" because of the song itself, or because I'm a fan of CSN. Either way, it's a catchy tune.
The Verdict: This isn't the tongue-in-cheek, not-so-serious version of the band that was focused on weed and having fun – not to say they don't talk about pot or have a sample from Cheech and Chong on the album. However, overall, there's more of a message here without abandoning who they are. Definitely one of the band's better efforts. I'd also guess that "Armada Latina" is gonna be heard all over the place.