V2 Records | “This feels like a Rusko release where, at times he’s lost Cypress Hill with them not really knowing what to do with his beats”
When my ear first caught a glimpse of the Cypress Hill and Rusko collaboration, simply titled Cypress X Rusko, let’s just say I was pretty floored. It was the first time in quite a while that I had heard something that was actually fresh and new sounding and not some regurgitated, copycat bullshit. The track I first heard was their single ‘Lez Go‘ which, to me is the perfect amalgamation of dance / dubstep mixed with Hip-Hop that I have heard to date and offers a very forward thinking sound that will no doubt be all over the radio waves at some point next year. I was then, as you can imagine, very stoked for this release. My nerves twitched a little as the EP rolled into track two.
‘Roll It, Light It‘ is Rusko and Cypress Hill’s hat tip to their love of Mary Jane. More on the slower end of the dubstep spectrum, ‘Roll It, Light It‘ offers B-Real a bit more space to spit, and in this instance he does it well, with the speed and agression that is reminiscent to the style and flow of another recent artist, Yelawolf. Sen Dog offers a lower and more ragga vibe and the contrast wraps the song up nicely, although I feel like his flow was out of whack on a couple of lines towards the end of the track. ‘Shots Go Off‘ showcases Rusko‘s love of non traditional percussive elements with the intro beat being made up of various gun sounds. Likely due to the songs title! The whole thing has the famous Rusko chunk and bling sounds and is the one track on the EP that could easily have just been released on a Rusko solo album. The chunk vibe of ‘Shots Go Off‘ is most reminiscent to me of ‘I Love You‘ taken of Rusko‘s 2010 album O.M.G.!
‘Can’t Keep Me Down‘ brings Rusko‘s renowned reggae / ragga dubstep vibe and this track is the one on Cypress X Rusko that I’m still not 100% sold on. I feel a little disappointed with Cypress Hill‘s performance on ‘Can’t Keep Me Down‘ as I’m not sure they really got, or got into the reggae / ragga dubstep vibe Rusko was bringing with his beat on ‘Can’t Keep Me Down‘. ‘Medicated‘ is the kookiest track on Cypress x Rusko in terms of beats. The problem is though that, where B-Real‘s vocals work tremendously on ‘Lez Go‘ and ‘Roll It, Light It‘ I almost feel that by the time we get ‘Medicated,‘ he demonstrates that he might just be a one trick pony, not changing or melding his voice depending on the vibe of the song. Instead, B-Real and Send Dog for that matter, seem to just attack each track in the same way. This is highlighted most on ‘Medicated‘ but is also fairly obvious on ‘Can’t Keep Me Down‘ too. Medicated‘s beat is so odd-ball and off-kilter that it was dying out for some mad and weird vocal work too. Instead, Cypress Hill let the side down here by not being able to bring more than one vibe to the table.
With the Spotify stream above you also get a bonus, and Spotify exclusive remix of ‘Can’t Keep Me Down‘ by HavocNdeed which adds a more upbeat, dancy and dubstep oriented version of ‘Can’t Keep Me Down‘ for those looking for that little bit more.
In all, Cypress X Rusko is a good EP that could have been great. Had this been five tracks like ‘Lez Go,‘ Cypress X Rusko would be one of the best releases in 2012 by far. Instead, Cypress X Rusko feels like an unfinished Rusko solo release with one or two finished versions. At times Rusko has clearly lost Cypress Hill with them not really knowing what to do with his beats. What could have been mind blowing ended up being middle of the road.