27 years since their debut self-titled album, Cypress Hill are back with an album that still has the stoner raps and violence that characterised their early 90s work but comes across as more serious. There is also more instrumental experimentation, with roughly a fifth of the album dedicated to intervals and interludes that mix DJ Muggs’ sample-based style with a psychedelia that feels very 60s.
Put Em In The Ground brings back memories of vintage Cypress, as B-Real flexes over a dusty drum loop and an insistent bass tone (“every morning I wake up in a bad mood / attitude f***ed up, he’s a bad dude”). Meanwhile Jesus Was A Stoner features a slower flow and a sung section from a distorted contributer who sounds like Gonjasufi, and Locos is the most intense track on the record with a nod to the group’s Hispanic heritage at the end.
Sen Dog mostly reprises his role as a hypeman emphasising the hooks, but on tracks like album opener Band Of Gypsies he impresses with a verse to rival B-Real’s. DJ Muggs’ production is varied and interesting, but feels a little gimmicky on Crazy where kazoos are deployed to questionable effect.
The final track, Stairway To Heaven, is a dark introspective song (bearing no resemblance to the Led Zeppelin tune) where the production and the lyrics come together for a truly powerful ending. A melancholy mellotron bookends the track, and the elements slowly build as B-Real raps about his struggle for atonement and the wrongs he’s done in his life.
Elephants On Acid is far from perfect, and at points its short tracks sound like sketches that could have been fleshed out more. But it is a worthy addition to their discography, and shows development of their signature sound.