Local Wire

Cypress Hill

Far be it from me to deny these reefer-rap legends the freedom to reinvent themselves, but seriously: What's the deal with Cypress Hill's new album, Rise Up? From a cover-art standpoint, it looks like runoff from a Billy Bragg sample book — all played-out Bolshevik lithography and overdeveloped forearms. Not a damn ganja leaf in sight. I was further surprised to find that Rage Against the Machine guitarist (and self-styled anti-establishment provocateur) Tom Morello co-wrote and performed on the title track. Yawn. It's one thing to evolve musically. It's something else to embrace an angry, worn-out aesthetic that always looks slightly ridiculous when wielded by millionaire musicians — especially those reputed for their love of the chronic. (Kind of analogous to that wine-cooler-slurping trust-fund chick we all knew in college who took one lousy American politics class and started thinking she was Emma Goldman.) In any case, Cypress Hill's new revolutionary stance on "Rise Up" would be more credible if the group didn't immediately license the song to WWE Elimination Chamber — a pay-per-view event that could also describe the place where pro wrestlers go to the bathroom. Make sure to burn some incense.