Being the only hip-hop act at a rock and metal festival is nothing new for Cypress Hill.
In fact, the Insane in the Membrane hitmakers are seasoned professionals when it comes to warming the stage for one of the genre’s biggest acts of the last three decades – Metallica.
The group performed right before the metal legends at a festival in Germany, and rapper B-Real admits that he and his comrades were a tad worried about how their set might be received.
“We were playing right before Metallica, and we thought, ‘what the fuck are we doing here?’
“But I think that’s how we built our reputation with the metal fans…we went out there and played, and regardless of how anybody felt about it when we first started, we won some people over and shit,” he said.
“It prompted some other promoters to invite us to other places to do the same sort of thing… We then had to headline a festival in Madrid and play after Sepultura and Rage Against the Machine.”
Hence, warming up a festival headlined by Metallica will be familiar territory for Cypress Hill when they arrive on our shores in a few weeks for Soundwave 2013 and a handful of sideshows.
B-Real said that he and bandmates Sen Dog, Eric Bobo and DJ Muggs love coming down here because of the great vibes from the crowd and our hospitable nature.
“We love coming down there and you know, playing our set and entertaining and what not,” he said.
“We’ve had some great shows down there in the past and met some great people who have made us feel at home.
“We gonna give 100 per cent energy like we usually do and show our brand of hip-hop and entertainment and what not, and always leave a good impression.”
Being well-known pro-cannabis consumption advocates with their annual American festival Smokeout, it’s not unfamiliar to sometimes see clouds of smoke rising at the band’s shows.
And B-Real said that there’s a good chance they might light up on stage to add to the vibe of their set.
“It (clouds from the crowd) is a funny one, cause if it happens it’s great, if not, we’re usually the ones setting it off.”
“If it doesn’t come from the crowd, it most definitely will come from us.”
Having been in the rap and hip-hop game for more than two decades, B-Real and Cypress Hill have seen many different changes in the genre. At present, he fears only one specific side of hip-hop is being constantly exposed.
“What they play on the radio has changed the landscape dramatically,” he said.
“I think the way it is presented right now where it’s so one-sided and they’re playing songs about, you know, how many chicks I’m with, how many cars I own, how many mansions I’m chillin’ in, how many G4’s I’m riding in…that’s the majority of the shit they’re playing on the radio.
“So if you look at it like that, that’s where hip-hop seems to be at, but there’s more to it – that’s just one angle. Not all of it is bad – there’s good shit – but it’s oversaturated ’cause they only play that on radio.”
Having said that, B-Real believes that the genre is still in a good state – but he encourages people to look beyond the radio to find the other diverse elements of the genre.
“If you go to these other hip-hop sites directing you to other styles of music, you’ll see that there’s the veteran artists still doing some banging tracks, old-school traditional hip-hop, and some new ones doing that as well.
“I think the state of it is great, I just think what is shown is one-sided, so if you don’t like it, it looks bad.
“If you like it, then it makes it look pretty, but it’s just not showing everything out there.
“There’s only so many radio and video slots on any of these particular stations, but there’s thousands of different artists out there.”
As for their own futures, B-Real said that he and Cypress Hill still love what they do, and could keep going as a group for “as long as we want to”.
“Everyone is still passionate about the music despite how the game has changed,” he said.
“We love going into the studio, knocking songs out and playing them and getting the reaction live…it’s good to see that and feel that.
“As an artist you try to put things out on a creative level, and that’s a challenge. It’s always a challenge and we’re all about that.”
Cypress Hill play as part of Soundwave 2013 in Brisbane on 23rd February, Sydney on 24th February, Melbourne on 1st March, Adelaide on 2nd March and Perth on 4th March. All legs of the festival are sold out. However, tickets are still available for their Sidewaves in Sydney at the UNSW Roundhouse on 25th February, and in Melbourne at The Forum on 28th February. For more details on the shows, click here.