Album Review: B-Real “Smoke N Mirrors”

 

 

Most Hip-Hop heads know about Cypress Hill’s front man B-Real. He has helmed the cess smoking West Coast group for over 15 years. Even so, unlike most people who helm a successful group, he hasn’t had too much face time. B-Real has never released a collection from a soloist standpoint. That has changed, as he releases Smoke N Mirrors (Duck Down), an album that rides but still leaves the listener with the feeling it could have been much better.

 

As a starter, the Stylistics charged “Smoke N Mirrors” plays into its sample beautifully as B-Real really works his magic over the track. The energy is matched well as the story of the average child in the city is woven all over the lyrics of B-Real. Likewise, the self produced “Fire” attacks its subject matter in a way only a professional can hit it.

 

The album is well produced well. Tracks such as “1 Life” feel as real as any of the albums B-Real has been on prior. Using an in-house production team, Audio Hustlaz, as well as his own production to helm the album, keeps the sound true. The benefits make themselves aware, as B-Real feels just as comfortable on these beats as he would a DJ Muggs track.

 

However, album has its fair share of filler. Protégé, Young De, really can’t hold his own on the tracks with B-Real. “10 Steps Behind” and “6 Minutes” aren’t constructed as well as they could have been, and at the end of the day, are truly forgettable. People hoping for another great track with Snoop and B-Real like their high energy “Vato” are sure to be disappointed. “Dr. Hypenstein” just doesn’t quite hit as hard as it should; feeling as if Snoop mailed it in.

 

People like an album that doesn’t feature too many skip-able songs, but people love an album that features no song that’s skip-able. Smoke N Mirrors won’t be a waste of money, especially to the hash loving fans of the left coast legend. However, after giving it a few listens, you’re left with the feeling that this could have been a stronger effort. This album is proof positive that sometimes leaving the people wanting could be a bad thing.

 

B-Real

“Don’t Ya Dare Laugh”

B-Real

“Snake Eyes”

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