Let me get this disclaimer out of the way: I am not by any stretch of the imagination fluent in Spanish. If you're looking to this review to see if Cypress Hill were able to translate "Hand On The Pump" word-for-word, I won't be able to answer that for you because a.) my Spanish isn't that great; and b.) for some reason, "Hand On The Pump" wasn't deemed a great enough hit to make it onto this collection. However, if you're looking to this review to see if you should pick up Los Grandes Exitos en Espanol because it is a solid collection of Cypress Hill's ganja-soaked grooves, which have been brought back to life with lyrics performed en espanol, then by all means read on.
Since this is a quickie perform-the-translation-over-old-tracks affair,
the rearrangement of lyrics causes some shout-along catchphrases to be
dropped from fan favorites. For example, there's no reference to Louis
Armstrong in "Loco en el Coco" ("Insane in the Brain") (RealAudio
excerpt), although the cops do come and try to snatch his crops. Sen Dog doesn't yell "bullshit" when the sound drops out in "No Entiendes la Onda," but he does still ask, "How I could just kill a man?" in the chorus of "No Entiendes la Onda" (RealAudio excerpt).
While song titles and lyrics may not match those of the originals, the
music has the same gritty, stoned groove as always and the messages remain more or less unchanged. In many cases the rewrites have improved the songs. I always found "Illusions" (RealAudio excerpt) a pale imitation of the Geto Boys classic "My Mind's Playing Tricks On Me," but "Ilusiones" finds B-Real rapping with a paranoid urgency that was missing from the laid-back original. "Tu No Ajaunta" ("Checkmate") comes across as so much more threatening in this incarnation that it makes the original sound almost innocuous. After sleepwalking through their last album, the passion and energy demonstrated on these songs reveals a reinvigorated Cypress Hill, a group possessed of a wealth of unique rhymes, jumpy-yet-focused flows and grooves that sound as though they've been soaking in bong water for about a week.
On the other hand, the tracks on Los Grandes Exitos en Espanol
aren't all as great as they could be. "Loco en el Coco" suffers a bit from a rapidly shifting rhyme scheme one line rhymes in the middle, the next in the end, the next three not at all, and so on. On the same tip, "Dr. Dedoverde" proves that "Dr. Greenthumb" is a low-energy B-side wannabe in any language. And I would gladly trade "Marijuano Locos" ("Stoned Raiders") and "Dr. Dedoverde" for reworked versions of "Hole in Your Head" and "Hand on the Pump."
But that's just quibbling over small details. As it stands, Los Grandes Exitos en Espanol is a great summary of Cypress Hill's accomplishments. If the energy of the performances here are sustained during the next phase of the band's career, Cypress Hill have a solid future ahead of them.