B-Real

MC B-Real is one-third of L.A. hip-hop group Cypress Hill.

He was born Louis Freese on June 2, 1970, in Los Angeles. The seeds of Cypress Hill were sown there in 1986, when B-Real and DJ Muggs (born Lawrence Muggerud) began rapping in a group called DVX with Cuban-born Sen Dog (born Senen Reyes) and his brother, Mellow Man Ace (born Ulpiano Sergio Reyes).

DVX pioneered the Latin lingo style "Spanglish." The unit renamed itself Cypress Hill, after a neighborhood street, following Mellow Man Ace's departure for a solo career.

Cypress Hill's eponymous debut LP was a slow riser, but spent 88 weeks on the Billboard 200 albums chart beginning in 1992. It featured the controversially titled single "How I Could Just Kill a Man." Expectations were more than met when Black Sunday (1993) topped the Billboard 200 and Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums charts. That album featured the top-20 single "Insane in the Brain," which helped widen Cypress Hill's profile.

While drawing attention for their campaign to legalize marijuana, Cypress Hill also became known for their slow, loopy rap/funk, which proved highly influential in the hip-hop genre. Cypress Hill III: Temples of Boom (1995) was received coldly by critics, which led to the trio's separation for three years, and began a dispute with rapper Ice Cube, whom Cypress Hill accused of ripping off "Throw Your Set in the Air" (RealAudio excerpt) for his own "Friday."

Cypress Hill responded to the perceived swipe with the cut "No Rest for the Wicked." After a few more sonic exchanges, the feud ended.

The group reunited for Cypress Hill IV (1998), featuring such tracks as "Checkmate" and "Dr. Greenthumb." Last year brought the Spanish-language record Los Grandes Éxitos En Español.

This year Cypress Hill issued Skull & Bones, including the hit single "Superstar" (RealAudio excerpt of rap version), which came out in hip-hop and rock versions.

Other birthdays Friday: William Guest (Gladys Knight and the Pips), 59; Antone "Chubby" Tavares (Tavares), 53; Charles Miller (War), 1939–1980.