themselves staring at success again, with "Superstar"
a single that warns against the trappings of
"When you first come out and you're really hot, the world
really expects you to be supernatural, and everything you
do has to be like the ultimate bomb," Cypress Hill rapper
(born Senen Reyes) said recently. "We've never forsaken
our style for the money or the position in the music."
With some high-profile help, including
COLOR=#003163">Everlast, the group
makes its case on both hip-hop and rock versions of
"Superstar," from Cypress Hill's sixth album, Skull &
Bones. Released Feb. 29, the single quickly found its
way onto both rock and hip-hop radio.
"We've played Cypress in the past, so it wasn't that much
of a stretch to begin with," said Lisa Worthen, music director
of L.A.'s KROQ-FM.
The music, though, is a stretch for Cypress Hill themselves.
testimonials on "(Rap) Superstar," while Everlast and
COLOR=#003163">Deftones, offer their
advice on "(Rock) Superstar." The versions begin
identically, with a dramatic combination of chimes and
strings. But the rock version launches its assault halfway
through, with a snarling, thrashing punk arrangement.
On the chorus of each, Cypress Hill's MC
Freese) rhymes, "So you wanna be a rap superstar/ And
live large/ Big house/ Five cars/ You're in charge/ Coming
up in the world/ Don't trust nobody/ Gotta look over you
"People just don't see how much work is really involved in
this rap shit," Eminem, last year's breakthrough rapper,
intones on the rap version.
On the rock version, former
COLOR=#003163">House of Pain
COLOR=#003163">House of Painrapper
Everlast says, "It's a fun job, but it's still a job." Everlast had
crossover success in 1998, with the folk-rock single "What
The positive response to "Superstar" prompted Columbia
Records to move the release of Skull & Bones up a
week, to April 25. It also prompted the group's spin through
New York, where it hit local radio stations and met with
reporters at its management's Greenwich Village office.
"People seem to be a little excited about it, so we're
happy," said B-Real, as a tattoo artist worked to improve a
tattoo on his right arm that depicts a marijuana leaf with the
band's name around it.
Cypress Hill talks from experience on the single. Its first two
albums, Cypress Hill (1991) and Black Sunday
(1993) thrust the group into the pop limelight, showcasing
their affinity for marijuana and gunplay, B-Real's nasal, Latin
delivery and DJ
Muggs' edgy, psychedelic production.
Black Sunday went double platinum.
Sales of their next two albums, Cypress Hill III (Temple
of Boom) (1995) and Cypress Hill IV (1998)
trailed off, and the group's profile diminished.
"(Rock) Superstar" is included on the new album as part of
the "Bones Disc," a sequence of six rock songs that close
the record. Several of those feature
Wolbers and guitarist
COLOR=#003163">Dino Cazares, with
Rage Against the
The group recorded the rock songs during a December
layover that followed the release of their Spanish-language
record, Los Grandes Éxitos en
B-Real said the rock collaborations and Muggs' use of live
instrumentation on the hip-hop tracks signal a new direction
for the group.
"It's not something you just leave in the dust after doing it.
We like doing it, too. I think it's going to be something
continuing on for us," he said.