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III Temples of Boom is the 1995 album from Hip-Hop legends Cypress Hill. The band had broken onto the scene in 1991 with their self titled debut album which went four times platinum, after that unexpected success the Hill were pressured by their record label to get another record made, Black Sunday, which would spawn many Cypress Hill classics and the first number one single from the new breed of rap in America with 'Insane In the Brain'. Cypress Hill admits Black Sunday wasn't as good as they could have made it due to the time constraints put on them but it was hard to fault much with the record. Finally after having time but no money for their first release, then money but no time for their second, Cypress had the luxury of both money and time on their hands to make their next record, III Temples of Boom. To me this record is the true hip-hop sound of Cypress Hill, something they couldn't achieve with their first record and something the need for hit records and hasty production prevented with their second.
The group at the time consisted of lead B-Real, rapper Sen Dogg, and DJ Muggs, although have since added Eric Bobo as a percussionist since their move to a more guitar based sound. All three members of the band have a Latin influence, indeed B-real also has Cuban bloods, which all of them are very proud to represent through their music. The other main point about the band is their all massive stoners and rap about weed at almost any chance, although anyone who's ever heard the Hill will already know that.
1 - Spark Another Owl
To kick things off we have a laid back, dark track about smoking weed, as well as standing alone as a track this one also works well as an intro to the album with some of the mentions in the lyrics, the dark sound of the track is a small taste for what's to come.
2 - Throw Your Set in the Air
I remember hearing this track on radio one when it was released as a single and all the cursing was played backwards, it sounded so odd. Anyway, this track gives us Cypress Hill's version of the traditional 'throw your hands in the air' line, Cypress would never use such a over played, commercial line so their own version, 'thrown your set in the air', instead means your gang and has threats of violence throughout the song. I love this track, it's one that makes my head bounce, the music is really tightly produced, love the organ which really adds to the menace of the track.
3 - Stoned Raiders
This one has a haunting beat, the female opera like singing in the background only intensifies this, the lyrics are nice but nothing to special, it's quite a short track and does what's required.
4 - Illusions
One of the Hill's greatest and darkest tracks, from the long intro of voices, Indian guitar and drums with psychedelic over throws you know this ones going to be special, the opening lines could quite possibly be my favourite opening to any song ever -
Some people tell me that I need help,
Some people can f*ck off and go to hell.
Not very subtle I know but you get the message, the song continues just as strong, B-Real brings his 'A' game to this one, he's got a sound unlike any other I can think of the production is as polished as ever from DJ Muggs.
5 - Killa Hill Niggas feat U-God and The Rza from the Wu-Tang Clan.
Love this Rza produced song, you can always count on B-Reals raps who kicks the track off, the Rza comes in with his own unique style next, then U-God probably has the best verse I've ever heard from him outside of a Wu-Tang album, love the raps on this one, while the Rza brings his own special style of production to the beats, love Sen Dogg's shouts in Spanish.
6 - Boom Biddy Bye Bye
More dark beats in this pretty normal gangster rap track, no raps on anything out of the ordinary but everything is delivered well and the lyrics aren't predictable, Sen Dogg makes his first rapping appearance for a few songs.
7 - No Rest for the Wicked
This tracks a diss song directed towards Ice Cube after their disagreement and was the start of their feud, it's not often you hear B-Real, the laid-back, Latin-American stoner sound this angry but he flows with real venom, picking Ice Cube apart on many things he's done over his career.
8 - Make a Move
Sampling one of the greatest movie scenes ever, Samuel Jackson's Ezekiel 25:17 speech from Pulp Fiction to start the song you expect a dark harsh gangster song full of violence, but what we get is a bouncy song which ok is still dark and full of violence, but this is a bit more upbeat than most of the album so far. Love everything about this one from the music to the raps and of course the intro.
9 - Killafornia
This ones a good song but doesn't really stand out to much from the rest of the album, the productions nice, dark and in keeping with the overall sound of the record, there's nothing to fault with the lyrics, worth the listen but I'm going to move on.
10 - Funk Freakers
Much like the last track this one fits well with the theme of the album, Muggs is the master of making such dark but laid back sounds as this, much of the song is about smoking weed, a stoners track.
11 - Locotes
Another great song, so dark, the police sirens in the middle fit so well with the lyrics, although you probably need to hear it to understand that, the tracks pretty much about being a gangster in the more urban sense, committing robberies etc, both rappers come strong with their rhymes.
12 - Red Light Visions
A short track, this one has a pumping base, B-Real sounds pretty angry on this one as he raps about all the fake mc's in hip-hop, people saying keep it real in their songs but contradicting everything they say.
13 - Strictly Hip-Hop
Another one of my all time favourite songs from Cypress Hill, this song, outside of the weed smoking, is basically everything Cypress represent and are about, again a candidate for me for greatest opening lines of all time -
I never rapped on a r'n'b record and I never will,
You got these phoney mother f*ckers talking about keep it real,
But they don't know how to take their own advice,
Going out doing soda water advertisements.
I love the overall message of this song, if more people in the rap world would take this advice then rap in general would be of a higher quality.
14 - Let It Rain
One of the more up-tempo songs on here, Let it Rain still has a very menacing sound, but at the same time you cant help but bob to this one, B-real raps at a faster pace than much of the album, he has no problems with this, another great song.
15 - Everybody Must Get Stoned
Did anyone really expect Cypress not to have another song about smoking weed on the album, and this one's in my opinion the best they've ever done, such a mellow sound, many times in the past I've been sitting around with some of my good friends listening to this one, I never tire of this track, some really nice cuts on the song, it's clear Cypress Hill, (and many of their fans from what I gather) love smoking marijuana.
Overall a 9/10 (very close to 10/10) for an album that stands up to any hip-hop album in history in my opinion, and represents to me Cypress Hill's best work, this is one of raps classic albums, I recommend this to all rap fans, if you like Cypress Hill and don't have this album you should seek it out as soon as possible, I've been listening to this since the first week it was released and have never tired of it
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Spark Another Owl
2 Throw Your Set In The Air
3 Stoned Raiders
5 Killa Hill Niggas
6 Boom Biddy Bye Bye
7 No Rest For The Wicked
8 Make A Move
10 Funk Freakers
12 Red Light Visions
13 Strictly Hip Hop
14 Let It Rain
15 Everybody Must Get Stoned