Borderline Latin is an exploration of the influence of Latin music in styles, places and rhythms beyond its traditional borders, and of different types of cross-pollination between Latin music and other musical creatures. Each week, we will feature a song or musical style whose rhythm, themes, melodic inflections or influences have earned it the name of Borderline Latin.
Insane in the membrane/Insane in the brain! Sen Dog –aka Senen Reyes was born in Cuba. In the early 1970s, his family migrated to California. By the late 1980s he was already rapping furiously alongside B-Real –aka Louis Freese, who is half Cuban and half Mexican, and was born in California. Together with DJ Muggs –who is from NY, adding an East Coast touch to the mix, they decided to record a demo and go by the name of Cypress Hill, which they took after Cypress Avenue in South Gate, California, where they lived. The rest is history.
Cypress Hill jumped to an early mainstream success, due in great part to their mix of hip hop, rap, ’90s alternative rock and Latin influences. They rocked the West Coast and took the world by surprise, crossing the boundaries between subcultures, genres and territories alike. Joined by Eric Bobo (who now makes up one half of Ritmo Machine), their commercial success continued during the 1990s, and aside from a few pauses and side projects by some of its bands members, Cypress Hill has remained quite active. Their last studio album Rise Up features a track called “Armada Latina” with Pitbull and Marc Anthony; Mexico’s dearest pop star Belinda appears in the video –we’re not sure all of this is good, but there you have it.
One thing that is certainly very, very good. In 1999, Cypress Hill released a greatest hits album in Spanish: Los grandes éxitos en español (available on ). From that album, check out Captain Cumbia’s mix of “Yo Quiero Fumar” mota: es algo que yo hago a diario.