France - Rock en Seine interview

Cypress Hill - Love the snails and the dope, but not Arizona's law

Nicolas Joubard

American Latino hip-hop stars Cypress Hill rocked the stage at the opening night of Paris’s Rock en Seine festival Friday. Before the weed-smoking West Coast bad boys performed to the 35,000-strong French crowd, they talked to RFI about US immigration law, Mexican drug cartels, the possibility of working with Blink 182’s drummer ... and eating snails.


How does it feel to be in France? Are you looking forward to playing Rock en Seine this evening?

B-Real: Yeah we always enjoy coming out here to France, Paris to do these shows. We were on tour a little earlier this summer. Now coming out to do this festival is gonna be really fun, so we’re looking forward to it. The fans have always been great, the crowd, they always give it their all, they’re always crazy out there, so that’s one of the highlights. There’s some cool people out here.

Sen Dog: And the food is great!

B-Real: All of it – its hard to describe just one thing. It’s different.

Sen-Dog: Escargot [snail]. Yeah I love that! That’s good.

You mentioned touring this summer. We understand you pulled out of a gig in Arizona recently because of the issue with US immigration laws. Recently a bill was signed but they went back of some of the more controversial points. What are your thoughts on that?

B-Real: We’re just idle right now. Waiting to see what goes on over there. Because obviously they pulled the trigger on that one prematurely and they’re trying to fix it, backtrack. Because a lot of people are mad, a lot of people are refusing to do business there, and it’s costing them money. We’re gonna wait and see what happens before we go back over there. We love to go to Arizona, there’s a lot of great people there. Unfortunately they’re paying the price for what the state government agenda is. We’re gonna wait see how it plays out before we go back over there.

Just over the border in Mexico there’s been a lot happening. More than 70 bodies were found there recently. What do you think about the Mexican government’s fight against these drug cartels?

B-Real: It’s hard for them to do anything. The government over there has had this battle for a long time down there. It’s not something they’re gonna win right away. They need help down there for sure.

Sen Dog: The government down there is losing the battle, is losing the war with the cartels gaining strength every day. Like B-Real said eventually they’re gonna need help, they’re gonna need to call for help.

Back at home what about Obama? How’s he doing right now?

I think some people think he’s trying, I think other people are waiting to see him fall. For me, I’m still waiting to see how he’s gonna to fix certain things. But it’s a long process, you vote for a guy, when he’s only been there a while, when the last guy was in there eight years and totally fucked things up. There’s a lot of things you gotta fix and it’s gonna take a minute before it takes effect. We’re gonna see. His approval rating is definitely most likely down. Will he get reelected? The way that it’s looking, it’s doubtful. We’ll see.

For a very long time Cypress Hill has been known for having a toke of cannabis from time to time. How do you make sure you’re not too caned when you perform?

B-Real: Oh shit!

Sen Dog: Well I don’t do cocaine!

B-Real: I think we’re probably seasoned smokers man! We’ve been at this since we were teenagers – smoking marijuana is just an every day normal thing to us - you know what I mean, it doesn’t put us to sleep, most of us! It doesn’t affect us in a negative way. We are productive marijuana smokers. We could smoke a gang of weed and go and record some good music. Or do a good concert. If anything, it doesn’t hinder. To me it adds this thing about me, where it just makes me feel that I don’t give a shit. And I’m just gonna go out and do my thing. I really don’t care when I’m stoned what people think. I just wanna go up there and jam. It makes me feel free. Just go up there and do your thing. People will like it. So if anything, smoking weed just enhances the Cypress Hill experience.

You’ve all collaborated with a lot of different people. Anybody on the Rock en Seine lineup this weekend who you’d like to work with?

Sen Dog: I think one day it would be cool to have Travis Barker play a drum track over a Cypress Hill song or something like that. He’s always been in touch with hip-hop and rock’n’roll just like us. It feels as if he’s always there with all the happening rap stars. He’s there with that Lil Jon and them dudes. One day is something like that were to happen I’d think it’d be a very cool thing. You know, Cypress Hill featuring Travis Barker would be, like, stupid! You know what I mean!

Anything you’d like to let us know that you’re doing in the future, anything in the pipeline, any projects?

B-Real: Some more touring for now, you know. After we’ve done touring we’ll probably start working on the next Cypress Hill record. But for right now, it’s touring off of this album, Rise Up. That’s what it’s about right now.

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