Sen Dog Reflects on Detroit's Influence on Cypress Hill's Music and Cannabis Advocacy

April 16th, 2024 Culture & Lifestyle
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In the rich tapestry of American music and culture, few bonds are as compelling and enduring as the one between Cypress Hill and the city of Detroit. Since their first visit in 1991, this legendary hip-hop group, which includes members Senen “Sen Dog” Reyes, nasally MC B-Real, percussionist Eric Bobo, and tour DJ, DJ Lord, has forged a profound connection with the city, rooted in mutual respect and shared experiences. This connection has grown stronger with each passing year, reflected in the group’s frequent visits and performances, including their upcoming concert at The Fillmore to celebrate 4/20, featuring fellow West Coast legends the Pharcyde and Souls of Mischief.

The Initial Connection: Early Days and Detroit’s Warm Reception

Cypress Hill's relationship with Detroit began when they were just starting to make a name for themselves. Having released their debut album in 1991 and then joining the lineup for Lollapalooza the following year, Detroit was one of their first major stops outside California. The warm reception they received left a lasting impression, establishing a bond that has endured for over three decades. According to Sen Dog, the unwavering support from Detroit fans is something that every musician yearns for and rarely finds.

Sen Dog’s Personal Recollections: Childhood Connections and Sports Influences

Detroit holds a personal significance for Sen Dog, who sees his visits as a nostalgic journey back to his childhood. He recalls the days of watching Detroit Tigers games, which were a staple of his youth. Although he regrets never visiting the old Tigers Stadium, his connections to Detroit sports don't end with baseball. Sen Dog also harbors a deep respect for the Detroit Pistons of the "Bad Boys" era, a team he once rooted against as a fervent L.A. Lakers fan. Over time, his perspective shifted from rivalry to respect, acknowledging the toughness and grit of the Pistons' play style that defined an era of basketball.

Cypress Hill’s Musical Journey: The Influence of Detroit

The musical connection between Cypress Hill and Detroit was further solidified with their latest album, "Back in Black," produced entirely by Detroit’s own Curtis “Black Milk” Cross. This collaboration was not just a meeting of minds but of cultures, as Cross brought a fresh perspective that resonated with the foundational sounds of Cypress Hill. The production process was a blend of remote collaborations and in-person sessions that culminated in an album that both respects the group’s roots and celebrates its future.

The partnership with Cross was transformative, allowing Sen Dog and B-Real to revisit the dynamic that initially defined their sound. Each track they sent to Cross came back improved, a testament to the synergy between their lyrical flow and his production prowess. This collaborative spirit is a reflection of Detroit's own rich musical heritage, a city known for its groundbreaking contributions to music, from Motown to techno and beyond.

Advocacy and Impact: Cannabis Culture in Detroit

Beyond music, Cypress Hill's connection with Detroit extends into advocacy, particularly for cannabis legalization. Detroit's evolving stance on cannabis, including recent moves to legalize recreational use, aligns closely with the group's advocacy efforts. Sen Dog sees these changes not only as a win for cannabis proponents but as a broader societal benefit, touching on everything from agricultural advances with hemp to implications for the U.S. prison system.

Their advocacy is underscored by the enthusiastic reception at their concerts, where the air is thick with the spirit of freedom and community—a vivid demonstration of the culture that both Cypress Hill and Detroit embody. The group’s presence in the city during cannabis-related events, including B-Real’s appearance at the Spark in the Park festival, highlights their role not just as performers but as icons of cannabis culture.

Conclusion: A Sustained Legacy

As Cypress Hill prepares to return to Detroit, their journey reflects a mutual evolution with the city. What began as a tentative performance in an unfamiliar city has blossomed into a significant cultural exchange that spans music, sports, and social advocacy. Each concert in Detroit is more than just a performance; it's a homecoming that celebrates the enduring link between the artists and the city—a relationship characterized by loyalty, respect, and a shared commitment to growth and change.

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