Most Hip-Hop heads know about Cypress Hills 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 hasnt 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 cant hold his own on the tracks with B-Real. 10 Steps Behind and 6 Minutes arent 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 doesnt quite hit as hard as it should; feeling as if Snoop mailed it in.
People like an album that doesnt feature too many skip-able songs, but people love an album that features no song thats skip-able. Smoke N Mirrors wont be a waste of money, especially to the hash loving fans of the left coast legend. However, after giving it a few listens, youre 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.
"Don't Ya Dare Laugh"