You are here

CLASSIC TRACKS: Cypress Hill ‘Insane In The Brain’

Released: 1993 • Producer: Cypress Hill • Engineer: Joe Nicolo
Published December 2018
By Tom Doyle

Cypress Hill. From left to right: Sen Dog, B‑Real and DJ MuggsCypress Hill. From left to right: Sen Dog, B‑Real and DJ MuggsPhoto: Getty/Lynn Goldsmith

Cypress Hill's crossover classic launched the group into the mainstream — and without sampling a single horse...

Thanks to its distinctive bounce‑along beat, James Brown grunts, horse‑like percussive neighs and rappers B‑Real and Sen Dog's tongue‑twisting rhymes, Cypress Hill's 1993 hit 'Insane In The Brain' is rightly renowned as one of the landmark tracks in the history of hip‑hop. The first single taken from the group's second (and subsequently US number one) album Black Sunday, it was the dementedly catchy crossover hit that brought Cypress Hill to the attention of a wider audience of alternative rock as well as hip‑hop fans.

But Cypress Hill's turntablist, beatmaker and producer DJ Muggs is surprisingly honest today as he looks back on 'Insane In The Brain'. "Y'know, it wasn't my favourite record on the album," he admits, "but it definitely had to be the single. That's when you have to know your shit, like, OK, this is the right record to push. It isn't my favourite, but this is the right record right now."

Classic Tracks'Insane In The Brain' definitely caught the mood of the early '90s, when alternative rock was going slacker and stoner, neatly mirroring Cypress Hill's open endorsement of marijuana in other Black Sunday tracks such as 'I Wanna Get High' and 'Hits From The Bong'. This was hip‑hop with party‑starting energy and cartoonish humour, in stark contrast to the punchy political messages of Public Enemy or the proto gangsta rap of NWA. Which made Cypress Hill stand out all the more.

"From the very beginning, I just thought they were the shit, man," says Joe 'The Butcher' Nicolo, the producer and record company owner who signed Cypress Hill to his label Ruffhouse and also mixed the trio's tracks. "I thought they were great. Y'know, there was just really nothing like this..."

Grit

One of Cypress Hill's unique selling points was their classic rock...

You are reading one of the locked subscriber-only articles from our latest 5 issues.

You've only read 10% of this article, so to continue reading...

Option 1: Buy and download this single SOS article in Adobe PDF format

  • Buy this article now and immediately download the PDF file to your computer.
  • Single article PDFs look identical to the printed magazine layouts (but exclude advertisements).
  • Note: Some shorter articles don't always have a PDF version.

Option 2: Buy the Full Issue PDF **NEW**

  • From the January 2018 edition onwards, it is possible to buy a Full Issue PDF 'replica magazine' (with adverts) for the price of a handful of single PDF articles, and instantly download it. More info...

Option 3: Buy a Digital subscription from our shopstore

  • A Digital sub can be bought from our online ShopStore and used immediately, or contact our Subs staff to discuss an upgrade price to add Digital access to your existing Print subscription.
Published December 2018