Cypress Hill’s New Documentary ‘Insane in the Brain’ Recounts a Searing Triumph

That’s not to say the documentary doesn’t take liberties. The narrative that Cypress Hill were underdogs because they came from the West Coast doesn’t even stand up to scrutiny. And there’s an unverified claim by a commentator here that Cypress Hill is the best-selling hip-hop group of all time. It’s not the Beastie Boys. (The story of Cypress Hill luring Beasties percussionist Eric Bobo in the ’90s is told in depth here, so knowledge of the New York trio’s success shouldn’t be new to Oriol.)

Still, it’s impossible to finish watching unhealthy mind without an increased respect for Cypress Hill. Not just because they brought Southern California’s Latin American culture to a global audience, but because they made it look easy when it clearly wasn’t.

unhealthy mind is also a reminder that when Cypress Hill called for cannabis legalization 30 years ago, it wasn’t just a schtick. They consistently advocated for the proposal at a time when – nearly three decades of reggae anthems like “Legalize It” by Peter Tosh aside – such a prospect always seemed impossible. That B-Real now has a chain of dispensaries (see: Dr Greenthumb in the Mission District of San Francisco) is a major justification.

The documentary ends with a juxtaposition that drives home the heart of the film. Shortly after seeing Cypress Hill receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame – the first hip-hop group to do so – the credits roll with a section dedicated to the plethora of their friends who didn’t make it. That these three South Gate misfits defied almost all the odds.

“Cypress Hill: Insane in the Brain” premieres Wednesday, April 20 at 8 p.m. on Showtime. Details here.

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