By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy, Photos by Matt “Rabit” Martinez Red Hare Images
As a devout follower of hard rock and heavy metal, it is no secret that I have been very vocal about artists in other genres today, particularly in hip-hop. By today’s standards, I personally do not see the big deal with its crop of superstars, including Childish Gambino, Drake, Travis Scott, and Cardi B. The only artists I have respect for are Kendrick Lamar, Chance the Rapper, and of course, Eminem. I would say that I am a fan of the old-school style of rap from the 1990s. That era had style, grace, quality, and some dope tunes. One hip-hop artist I truly admired was Cypress Hill. Dubbed the Grateful Dead of Hip-Hop, their unique mixture of West Coast Hip-Hop and hardcore hip-hop, along with an advocacy for recreational weed usage, have made them legends. They just put out a new album, Elephants on Acid, and taking us on a trippy ride with rap/nu metalheads Hollywood Undead and X to the Z rapper Xzibit. The tour is called the West Coast High tour, so Matt and I caught them at the House of Blues in Anaheim, where we threw our sets in the air, waving them around like we just don’t care!
After Xzibit threw down his flow, Hollywood Undead charged the stage, kicking off their set with “Whatever It Takes.” This time around, they decided not to wear their masks they are known for wearing in the beginning of their performance. That did not matter too much to me, because their energy was high caliber. J-Dog, Funny Man, Johnny 3 Tears, Charlie Scene, and Danny each rapped with vigorous aggression. They even took turns playing guitar and bass, putting in their own rap rock swagger into the riffs and beats. After “Dead Bite,” Charlie Scene pulled a fan from the crowd named Marilyn, asked her if she can play guitar, and she got to perform “Comin’ in Hot,” where she held own very well with Danny while he riffed away as well. I have seen them twice already, and they did well both times. This time around, I felt they put on their best set yet. The passion as well as viciousness was there for Hollywood Undead. From “California Dreaming” to “War Child,” “Another Way Out,” “Bullet,” “Riot,” “Everywhere I Go,” and “Day of the Dead,” it was a good night for Hollywood Undead. They keep getting better every time we see them.
Full Hollywood Undead gallery below:
After Hollywood Undead wrapped things up, it was time to toss the ham in the fryin’ pan like spam. Before Cypress Hill graced us with their presence, their DJ Mixmaster Mike came out to first fire up the crowd. Once we were energized, B-Real and Sen Dog came out with their long-time percussionist Eric Bobo to give us “Band of Gypsies,” which is featured on Elephants on Acid. Sporting a durag and shades, B-Real laid down groovy-ass flow that hypnotized the crowd. While doing that, Sen Dog barks and bites with his brutal style, which he kills at. While they were performing, people in the audience started to light up joints and blunts. As security had them put it out, more people would light up. It was insane and funny seeing that. Cypress Hill even turned off the fog machines because the smoke from the weed was all they needed. The crowd went nuts when they hit us with “Throw Your Set In the Air.” After “Cock the Hammer,” B-Real joined Bobo on the drums for “Latin Lingo” and “Latin Thug,” each of them sparring on the drums and bongo drums.
After “Tequila Sunrise,” Mixmaster Mike and Bobo went into a blast beat that rocked the house. B-Real then returned to the stage with a big-ass joint/blunt in his hand. After blazing it up, Cypress Hill gave us a Weed Medley that included “Roll It Up, Light It Up, Smoke It Up,” “I Wanna Get High,” the Method Man & Redman cover “Cisco Kid,” “Dr. Greenthumb,” and “Hits From the Bong.” Feeling nice and toasted after “Crazy” and “How I Could Just Kill a Man,” we got loco with “Insane in the Brain.” Usually, they would head to the back for a quick breather before the encore, but Cypress Hill was feeling the strong vibes Anaheim was sending, so they finished us off with “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” and “(Rock) Superstar.”
Full Cypress Hill gallery below:
The smell of ganja was in the House of Blues as a cloud of marijuana smoke hovered above our heads. A lot of people got a contact high that evening. Cypress Hill knows how to put on a show. Strangely enough, they are actually the first straight-up hip-hop group I have seen live. I have always heard good things about a Cypress Hill concert, and now I know. Hollywood Undead are unstoppable and I see myself becoming more of a follower of their music. Matt and I only saw a little bit of Xzibit, but I am sure he killed it. After tonight, I am definitely insane in the membrane. To Cypress Hill and Hollywood Undead, I salute you. Horns up!!!