Remember Suzie from your sixth grade class that “developed” a little bit earlier than all of the other chicks? She stimulated your thinking in a way you had previously never imagined and she inspired a part of you that you didn’t even know existed.
Now, remember how you felt when you found out that the only thing that Suzie had truly “developed” was a strong liking for two ply Charmin ultra roll toilet paper? Those same feelings of deep remorse and frustration will also be felt by any Cypress Hill fan who listens to the bands sixth studio album release, Stoned Raiders.
From the outset it is very obvious that the backbone of the band’s earlier releases, DJ Muggs’s haunting samples and deep base lines, has been abandoned in favor of the perpetually heinous rap/rock sound. Though “The Hill” are the original rap/rock band(As evidenced by an appearance on the Judgement Night soundtrack), their attempts at that genre on this album are less than successful. The lyrical content and B Real’s trademark sinus infected delivery are lost amidst a sea of bad guitar riffs and whack beats.
On tracks like # 2 “Trouble”, the beat shifts from the standard, slow pace of earlier Cypress albums, to a mix of Jungle and Trance music. This proves to be an ill-fated attempt at creating a new musical identity when there is really no need for one.
As Cypress Hill attempts to broaden their fanbase with new styles, they also alienate long time fans who dig the smoked out, blunt rollin’, style of the first four albums. You could usually count on B Rizzy and the fellas throwin down at least two tracks per album on which you can kick back and smoke blunts to. Track #5 “Bitter”, is the only attempt made in this direction on the entire album. For the majority of the album, the Hill sacrifices their dark, ominous sound for an overload of prepubescent gangsta posturing on Stoned Raiders.
The only track on the album that piqued my interest was #10 “Red, Meth & B” featuring Redman and Method Man. As two of the dopest emcee’s to ever roam planet earth, Red and Meth manage to do at least one song on the album justice. Meth drops one of the tightest verses ever recorded as the duo manages to elevate the status of the entire album in just over two minutes.
If you liked Cypress Hill’s previous studio album release, Skull and Bones, then you will dig Stoned Raiders. The mix of unnecessary guitar and up-tempo gangsta beats proves to overload old school fans who dug the hazy, mellow tone of the first four albums. It is definitely not an album I would recommend to anyone.
And remember, just because Susie stuffs her bra doesn’t mean her older sister does.