In the early 1990s, a dark force began to rise in Los Angeles, fueled by classic ’80s New York boom-bap and equally inspired by evil-tinged rock groups from the 1970s, like Black Sabbath. Just like that era of Los Angeles itself, pre-Riots and pre-The Chronic, Cypress Hill – producer and DJ Muggs with main MC B-Real and his lyrical partner Sen Dog – brought the city’s bubbling unrest to the surface, bathed in weed smoke and exploring injustices done to the underclass by both the Police State and the Government.
Technically a “Double A-Side,” Cypress Hill’s first single, from 1991, took a minute to penetrate the rap scene at large. Once it took hold, though, there was no turning back. Part of the delay may have been the aural dichotomy shown here – “The Phunky Feel One” is a ridiculously funky groover, laced with liquid flows that might not create a full-on party vibe, but certainly brought listeners to the brink of the dancefloor. The flip, which eventually became the group’s breakthrough (thanks in part to its use in the climax to the film “Juice”), was a claustrophobic exploration of the gang lifestyle and mindset that was prevalent in the LA of the late ’80s and early ’90s. “Here is something you can’t understand,” the chorus snarled, “How I could just kill a man.”
According to group members, “Phunky Feel” was their record label’s choice for the A-Side, and “Kill A Man” was the song they themselves wanted to show the world with their first shot. No matter which way you slice it, the single showed an impressive range in just two songs – a complexity which would soon be fully exposed with the group’s debut LP later that year.
Originally released for Record Store Day 2015, this is a black vinyl 7-inch recreation of the original 12″, featuring the single’s classic artwork on a printed 7″ jacket, plus a special matte black 2nd outer sleeve, embossed with the white seminal skull design.