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Cypress Hill/The Pharcyde/Souls Of Mischief - Roadrunner (Boston) - April 18, 2024

22 April 2024

A little over ten years ago, Public Enemy organized a tour called Hip-Hop Gods Tour Revue, where they took a handful of seminal acts from the early days of hip-hop and let the original generation enjoy those salad days once again, while bringing these acts to the forefront of a newer audience. While the clock didn’t get turned back quite that far, Roadrunner saw a trio of west coast ensembles who were crucial building blocks to the story of rap.

Be Real of Cypress Hill cut right to the chase of the impending weed holiday weekend – “Four twenty is every day!” With a DJ station comprised of a giant skull with a pot leaf on it, and later a giant inflatable skeleton evilly grinning and holding a big fattie, it was pretty clear that cannabinoids are no stranger to the blood streams of Cypress Hill.

Along with Sen Dog, the duo busted out some choice cuts from that era, and that kid I saw wearing a weathered Stüssy t shirt knew what was up; “Hand On The Pump” and “When The Shit Goes Down” and “I Ain’t Going Out Like That” hit just as hard thirty years later. Cypress Hill is known for their ‘let’s get high and party’ vibe and while they weren’t a gangsta rap outfit like NWA, you know that they saw more than their fair share of bad shit going down. The squiggly earworm synth line of “Insane In The Brain” triggered a flood of memories for a good chunk of the packed room, and Be Real did make a callout to the Beastie Boys, whom he thanked for believing in them early on and taking them out on the road for a tour that changed their career trajectory radically.

The night ended with all the acts on stage for what Be Real said was one of the greatest songs ever, a version of House Of Pain’s “Jump Around” that got the entire building shaking. With smoke emanating in plumes from all reaches of the room, I hope no one had to take a drug test the next day.

The Pharcyde didn’t get featured on the Judgement Night soundtrack that had hip-hop bands paired with various noise/punk bands (Cypress Hill had two collab songs on the record, one with Sonic Youth and the other with Pearl Jam!) but their sound was picked up early on by DJ Shadow who used a sample of their song “It’s Jigaboo Time” in “Entropy” that came out in 1993, just a year later. Both acts would pull from Quincy Jones for “Summer in the City”, with DJ Shadow teaming with Cut Chemist on “The Hard Sell” whereas The Pharcyde used it in “Passin’ Me By,” their most well-known song. The quartet did a good job with taking some super catchy but then pretty unknown samples and turning them into Pharcyde material. In the era of played out trap beats, I miss this.


I didn’t know anything about opener Souls of Mischief but they also had that pedigree of the time, and pushed out slammin’ beats while members took turns on the rhymes.