On this day in music history: July 20, 1993 – “Black Sunday”, the second album by Cypress Hill is released. Produced by DJ Muggs, it is recorded at 38 Fresh Studios, Image Recroding in Hollywood, CA, Soundtrack Studios, Baby Monster Studios, Green Street Studios, Chung King Studios in New York City and Studio 4 Recording in Philadelphia, PA from Early 1992 – Early 1993. Thrust into the spotlight on the strength of their Platinum selling self-titled debut album, Cypress Hill will find themselves unprepared to follow it up. Having spent nearly three years working on their first album, the group tour incessantly in support of it. The extended time on the road leaves them little time to work on material for their sophomore release. By late 1992, Cypress Hill’s record label Columbia Records begins pressing them for a follow up. DJ Muggs, B-Real and Sen Dog feverishly write and record songs for what becomes “Black Sunday” in only two months. As a result, much of the material revisits themes explored on their first album (though taking on a more ominous and darker vibe), including tales of street violence (“Lick A Shot”, “Cock The Hammer”), and their passion for the almighty herb (“Legalize It”, “Hits From The Bong”). Two previously released tracks “Hand On The Glock” (originally the B-side of the withdrawn “Hand On The Pump” 12") and “A To The K” (included on the “White Men Can’t Rap” EP) are also included on the album. The album’s centerpiece is its first single “Insane In The Brain” (#19 Pop, #27 R&B, #14 Rap). Though much of its lyrical content seems ambiguous on the surface, the song is written as a diss track, pointed at rapper Chubb Rock. Cypress Hill had felt disprespected by the New York rapper by mocking B-Real and Sen Dog’s vocal delivery on his album “I Gotta Get Mine Yo”. Lyrics on “Insane” unquestionably directed at Chubb Rock include the couplets “Do my shit undercover, now it’s time for the blubba, Blabber, to watch that belly get fatter, Fat boy on a diet, don’t try it, I’ll jack yo’ ass like a looter in a riot”. The video for “Insane In The Brain” is filmed at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco, CA, with the single being released a month ahead of the album in June of 1993. It quickly becomes a hit, with the video going into power rotation on MTV. The major exposure helps Cypress Hill to broaden their audience beyond their core Hip Hop and college radio fans, to being embraced by the Alt-Rock music crowd. “Black Sunday” leaps on the Billboard pop and R&B album charts at number one, pushing U2’s “Zooropa” out of the top spot on the former chart. The album rockets pass their debut in sales, spinning off two more singles including “I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That” (#65 Pop, #86 R&B, #21 Rap) and “When The Shit Goes Down”. It also earns two Grammy nominations in 1994, for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. Appearing as a headlining act on festival tours like Lollapalooza, Woodstock ‘94 and Smoking Grooves, turn Cypress Hill into one of the biggest acts in rap during the 90’s. The group also appear as themselves on The Simpsons episode “Homerpalooza”, with “Insane In The Brain” also appearing in the films Bulworth, Scary Movie 2 and on the video game Saints Row IV. Released with both the original uncensored and censored radio versions, later repressings of the album excise the vocal sample of The Youngbloods’ “All Over the World (La La)” (the lyric “I think I’m goin’ crazy…”) on “Insane”, by fading the track early. The is also reissued on vinyl several times, most recently in 2018 by Sony Legacy/We Are Vinyl. “Black Sunday” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, spending four weeks at number one of the R&B album chart, and is certfied 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
Help support the Behind The Grooves music blog with a donation at: PayPal.Me/jharris1228