The Skinny: If you are over 30, smoked marijuana in the 90s and did inhale, you know at least one of the tracks on Black Sunday better than you will ever admit. Cinematic, psychedelic, high-dawg hip-hop at its finest, and the pinnacle of the Gangsta Rap genre’s popularity. Black Sunday is the second album from Cypress Hill, and the last great album they would release in their 20+ year career.
Sounds like: House of Pain, Snoop Dogg, Wu-Tang Clan, Public Enemy, Limp Bizkit (only in Black Sunday‘s very worst moments when things get redundant)
Deeper Thoughts: Violent story lines of gang-bangers, blunts and sawed-off shotguns permeate this classic rap album. These tunes rely heavily on creative and unexpected samples such as Dusty Springfield’s “Son of Preacher Man” featured on “Hits from the Bong.” Have you ever wondered if Black Sabbath, Alice Coltrane and Harry Nilsson have anything in common? They do and it’s “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That,” a dark, eerie, bass-heavy tale of what Cypress Hill will do when they find their collective backs against the wall. Black Sunday solidifies Cypress HIll’s connection to rock’n’roll with huge crossover appeal that landed them on the main stage of the 1995 Lollapalooza tour. Unfortunately, the second half of the album starts to feel redundant with the constant repetition of lyrics and sonically similar composition. These same missteps would end up being their downfall on future releases.
The Sonics: With a wide variety of samples, there are lots of different sounds peppered throughout this record. However, it could be a bit of a challenge to get through for a newbie to this particular style of rap and sampling. Black Sunday is full of long, winding, repetitive sampled sounds. This stuff seems overly compressed while listening online through ear-buds — that might be fine for the casual listener. As a huge fan of Black Sunday and aggressive rap of the late 80s and 90s, I find this disc to be the better listen. It provides more space between beats and samples with the heavy bass tracks becoming more defined.