Here in the Northeast, it's been unseasonably warm this week, so it's probably not too soon to start considering songs for the annual Summer-Jam Sweepstakes, the competition to see which tune will dominate the beaches and lakefront properties of this great nation of ours when the mercury rises and the shirts come off. And for the first entry, I present to you [artist id="928"]Cypress Hill's[/artist] "Armada Latina," whose video premiered Thursday (April 8) on MTV.
It probably wasn't supposed to work out this way. After all, timing has never exactly been B-Real and Sen Dog's greatest strength. Rise Up, the album from which "Armada" comes, has been in the works since 2005, and something like four singles have already been released off it, even though it doesn't hit stores until April 20 (how fitting). But for once, the guys may have gotten it right, as "Armada" is the perfect song — and video — for summer (or spring, for that matter). It's a bouncing, downright breezy thing, riding on a sample of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's "Judy Blue Eyes" and popping with Latin percussion and finger-picked guitars. It's kind of like Kid Rock's "All Summer Long," only with congas and Cohibas instead of walleyes and whiskey.
Make no mistake about it, this isn't the Cypress Hill you knew and loved in 1993. Well, it is — the 4/20 release date is a dead giveaway that these dudes are still into herbal remedies — but unlike the smoky, claustrophobic hits of their past ("Insane in the Brain" and, to a lesser extent, "(Rock) Superstar"), "Armada" is bright, jovial, even celebratory ... the kind of thing you want to listen to with the windows rolled down.
Miami's Pitbull shows up to contribute a lilting verse. Marc Anthony sings the hook (though he's not in the video). B and Sen rap about Cuba Libres and games of dominoes. The video is one giant summery, Little Havana block party. Everyone looks like they're having a blast. No one blows plumes of smoke at the camera. This is not, shall we say, the red-eyed and hazy Cypress Hill of the Clinton era.
Just having a Cypress Hill video to write about is enough to make my inner 15-year-old happy, but things have changed for B and Sen. At least judging by "Armada Latina," they're in it to win it. And they're ready to party. Sometimes you've gotta step outside of the smoke-filled room and dance a little. The Summer-Jam Sweepstakes begins now.
What do you think of "Armada Latina"? Is there another song you think will be the summer jam of 2010? Share your thoughts below.