Article and photos by: Ryan Javier DALLAS, TX - Rap/Rock mega-group, Cypress Hill came blazing through Big D as part of their landmark 25th anniversary world tour and of course, Through the Lens was there, along with hundreds of loyal fans, all eager for a dose of what Doctor Greenthumb was prescribing. In a true testament to the band's continued popularity and lasting legacy, the venue was quickly filled to near-capacity; not too bad for band that's 25 years old. What separates Cypress Hill from everyone else, is their unique sound. The brilliant contrast in vocals between B-Real’s nasally, high-pitched voice and Sen-Dog’s deeper, more guttural sound is part of the reason. The other part, is the music itself. Cypress Hill isn’t really rap; it’s not really rock either. But rather some bastardy child of the two, reared by the streets of So Cal and deeply rooted in it's contrasting style and culture. The group has pushed the boundaries and bent genres, culminating in 2000’s Skull and Bones, a half-metal/half-hip-hop album featuring collaborations with bands and artists such as Eninem, the Deftones, Rage Against the Machine, Everlast and rapper Noreaga. Over the years, the machine that is Cypress Hill has slowed at times, allowing the members to collaborate with such varied artists as Slash and Snoop Dogg and practically everyone in between. pursue side projects, such as other musical endeavors and even video games. The group has a strong presence on social media as well. Perhaps the most well known is B-Real, who hosts BRealTV, an online site and Youtube channel featuring several talk shows and informative forums online, ranging from his popular "Smoke Box" segments to music videos to herbal critiques. Check out his Youtube channel and if you like what your see, be sure to subscribe! However, no matter how far each member strayed, Cypress Hill never broke up and the group kept coming back together in the studio and on the road, producing a steady stream of albums every coupe of years throughout the past two decades. Although there is no official word yet, Cypress Hill is about due for new album soon; their last two efforts were in 2010 and 2014 and both were greatest hits compilations. The house lights dropped and the D.J. for the opening act appeared on stage. As he began to play the intro musak, Tennessee-born rapper, Jelly Roll, exploded onto the stage. The sleepy stony crowd in Dallas was not ready for this bad motherfucker. Jelly Roll killed. This insanely talented artist also straddles the line between genres, merging southern hard rock and dirty south rap, often so seamlessly, the result itself could only be rightly described as a new genre of music altogether. His band and his voice sell you, for sure, but where Jelly Roll's true genius lies in his deep and meaningful lyrics. Drawing on real-life experiences and past hardships (and successes) Jelly Roll expertly blends catchy hooks and soulful lyrics with dope-ass beats, satisfying even the most discerning hip-hop fan. His songs are overlaid with enough sick guitar riffs and steady enough drum beats for rock ‘n roll. Nobody could not dig Jelly Roll. His demographic is, well, it's pretty much everyone. Take for example, his hit "Sunday Morning". The versus are so smooth and inviting and the chorus is so perfect that when he played it live in Dallas, everyone, I mean everyone was singing that shit right along with him. Jelly Roll hit the scene just a few years ago when the video for his collaboration with rapper Lil Wyte, "Pop Another Pill" went viral. As of today, the video has over 4 and half million views. Not content sitting idle, Jelly Roll has been hard at work over the years, collaborating with other artists on their projects, releasing numerous mixtapes and EP's of his own and even a studio album, Big Sal Story, in 2012. Check out his new video for the single, "When I Get Rich", featuring Travis Barker, from his upcoming album, Sobriety Sucks, due out May 13, 2016. Pre-order it here! Fans could not get enough of Jelly Roll; the sadness felt in the room when he closed his set and leave the stage was undeniable. Although Jelly Roll surprised everyone in the audience with his stellar performance, it was the headliners turn at bat. Amidst a darkened and foggy auditorium, the P.A. began to play Samuel L. Jackson's infamous "Ezekiel 25:17" speech from Pulp Fiction. As the sound-byte ended with the obligatory "gunshots", Cypress Hill burst onto stage and it was like the 90's had come back with a vengeance. Cypress Hill was in top form; they looked great and sounded even better. There's been a growing trend among 90's bands to do 25th anniversary tours, however that doesn't automatically guarantee that bands still has the chops, even though a lot of those groups have been still producing music, off and on. It was a relief and pleasant surprise to see that Cypress Hill hadn't lost a beat- literally and figuratively. In a show of modesty, the band did not have banners or stage props, that typically accompany a 25th anniversary tour (or any tour, for that matter), but instead choose to have simple set up. DJ Muggs was set up on stage left, percussionist Eric Bobo was set up over on stage right, and vocalists B-Real and Sen Dog floated in-between. (and actually, even Jelly Roll's stage setup was incredibly modest) At times it was difficult to see the band through the thick haze, but you could always here them just fine. The saving grace of the Dallas House of Blues is their superior sound system and Cypress Hill took full advantage of that. Cypress Hill played all their hits, including such classics as"Hits From the Bong", "I Want to Get High", "Insane in the Brain" and of course "Dr. Greenthumb". They even did some mashups, including some with songs by Snoop Dogg and House of Pain. In true old-school rap concert fashion, Sen Dog and B-Real split the house in two, each saying their side was "better". Playful proclamations such as "Party over here; fuck you over there!". went back and forth, with the audience repeating each statement. After the divisions were clear, there was no clear "better" side, so Cypress Hill did the only thing that there was to do. They brought it around full circle and united both halves of the venue...and the crowd loved them for it. After a long and inclusive set of hits and fan-favorites, it was time for the fans in Dallas to say goodnight to mega-stars Cypress Hill. Through a see of red eyes and smiling faces, it was undeniable- Cypress Hill is still the shit! Tickets are still available for select dates on their 25th Anniversary world tour. For more info, visit Cypress Hill online.