For the last quarter century, Cypress Hill's influence has gone from the LA's barrio to hip-hop heads around the world. That two-decade old permeation of culture was in full effect at the Observatory Friday as opening acts, obviously influenced by the groundbreaking style of the Latino emcees, set the tone for a performance of legendary West Coast delectation.
With help from the iconic Julio G, the DJ who gave the group some of their earliest spins on the original 1580 KDAY, and Eric Bobo on a set of deluxe percussion bolstered by a polished set of conga drums, B-Real and Sen Dog stepped to the stage as hard as one could have ever imagined them; Sen Dog rocking some '90s Lugz-esque boots, while B-Real appeared looking a little more modern but equally as hood in some Jordan IVs and a fitted hat.
Their no-nonsense vibe translated to a very short intro before the duo went straight to work ripping over Redman's “Da RockWilder” which then transitioned to 22-year-old banger, “Hand on the Pump.” Through the hands in the air and the haze of blunt smoke, which had attempted to fill the intimate venue all night, we could see a mosh pit consuming a small portion of the pit.
After working up a small sweat, B-Real crept to digital drum machine behind the busy Eric Bobo to play the organic sounds of Sen Dog's Salsa inspired solo track “Latin Thug,” as the crowd screamed “Oh Shit!” on cue.
The dark skinned Cuban emcee also took this time to showcase, exhibiting what we'll call the Cholo Stroll–you know; elbows up, side-to-side–which displayed Sen's swole arms and shoulders in the process.
Observing just how fit the 47-year-old was directed attention over to B-Real, 43, to realize that he, too, has been able to stay in shape despite the decades of blunts, groupies, and worldwide tours. Throughout the night the pair accurately spit lyrics that outdated a decent proportion of audience members, and probably offered an improved performance compared to their young days as a couple of knuckleheads out of South Gate. What was not changed was the distinct twang of B-Real's vocals nor the hoarse delivery of Sen's “And you know I had to gat ya!”
After leaning like a cholo, Sen Dog began swinging his hips to the Salsa sounding instrumental playing in the background in another act of showmanship.
From there, B-Real returned to the stage to jump around during the rundown of favorites that made the crowd go crazy or, erm, insane. The moshing got a little scary by the end of the night due to fans obvious agitation with all of the pushing going on to the point where security probably would've been steam rolled if they'd attempted to restrain the crowd.
As the smoke cleared following the 75 minute set, the fans left seeming either fatigued from an all-night buzz or overwhelmingly satisfied by seeing one of West Coast hip -hop's biggest acts live staples of the icons live–of course it was probably both.
Random Notebook Dump: OC Observatory has continuously hosted some of the best acts in music. This was just another legendary occasion.
The Crowd: Young stoners smoking the weed they bought with their Christmas money and OGs smoking on the little amounts they were able get after Christmas expenditures.
Overheard: One of the opening explaining to security that he had a right to let his girl know she was misbehaving regardless of how aggressive he may have been.
Critical Bias: Having Julio G on the 1s and 2s for Cypress Hill turned what was an awesome show to an exhibit of a culture that is never to be forgotten.
See setlist below
Get Em Up
Hand on the Pump
When the Shit Goes Down
Kill A Man
Boom Biddy Bye Bye
Sugar Hill Break
Insane in the Brain
Let It Reign
Make A Move
Cock the Hammer
Throw Your Set in the Air
Lick A Shot
A to the K
Ain't Going Out Like That