Cypress Hill

Live at the Fillmore (Columbia Records)

Cypress Hill has very little left to prove in the genre it helped to shape and revolutionize over the last decade. Among its peers Cypress Hill has seen an amazing amount of success, with all seven of its albums certified gold or better, an incredibly consistent track record considering the "new is best" mentality of many hip-hop fans. With the release of Live at the Fillmore, Cypress Hill becomes one of the few rap acts with a live document of its stage presentation and one of the even fewer to drive the sonics with a live band.

Live at the Fillmore presents the group in its most natural environment but also points out two inherent problems of live hip-hop albums: the relative thinness of the vocals and the loss of the bottom end in the translation from the studio to the stage. These obvious shortcomings aside, Live atthe Fillmore delivers a handful of absolutely scintillating versions of Cypress Hill classics, including slamming takes on the noirish "Cock the Hammer," the punkish "Lick a Shot," and an incendiary spin on "A to the K." And it wouldn't be a Cypress Hill disc without a humid cloud of burning blunt ("I Wanna Get High," "Stoned Is the Way of the Walk," "Hits from the Bong") or the showstoppers "Riot Starter" and "(Rock) Superstar." Within the limitations of the form, Cypress Hill has made the best album possible.

 
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