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CD REVIEW

Cypress Hill: Till Death Do Us Part

Sixteen years into the game, Cypress Hill is still surveying the streets through its own wicked kaleidoscope. On this new record, the group sounds rejuvenated and in the moment. After a period in which they flirted with metal (with mixed results), Cypress Hill's Sen Dog, B-Real, and DJ Muggs return to the Latin-influenced, gritty realism that launched their career. The themes are the same as they always have been: bang a bong, get it on with the police, create havoc, and search for the perfect beat. Musically, the disc is one of their more varied as Muggs, who produces most of the tracks, strips things down. There's less of the hallucinatory sonics that dominated the group's sound in the '90s. The beats come lean and with a bounce, except on the haunting ``Street Wars,'' which effectively uses a sonorous choir and chiming church bells. Cypress Hill also dips into reggae with the help of Damian Marley on ``Smoke It Up,'' but that's an aberration. One of the strongest cuts comes courtesy of the Clash and Tim Armstrong of Rancid. Muggs samples the Clash's ``Guns of Brixton'' for ``What's Your Number?,'' on which Armstrong assists B-Real on it. Elsewhere the group keeps things menacing with the help of Mobb Deep's Prodigy on ``Last Laugh,'' a heady banger, while the steely, hardcore ``Another Body Drops,'' sounds like a return to the group's incendiary debut. This is Cypress doing Cypress in prime form.

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