Cypress Hill percussionist Bobo ready to drop rap-rock hits on Hollywood Casino

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Cypress Hill at Hollywood Casino (Part 1)

They rewrote music history by introducing hip-hop fans to rock music — and vice versa.

On Friday, Cypress Hill rocks Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in West Virginia.

“It should be a really fun show,” Cypress Hill percussionist Eric “Bobo” Correa told WTOP. “Thirty years is a long time and not a lot of bands make it to that number, so we just have to thank the fans and the people who have supported us. … We’re not done.”

Born in Queens in 1968, Bobo grew up the son of Latin jazz great Willie Bobo, who lived in Spanish Harlem of Puerto Rican heritage.

“By 3 years old I was already playing on pots and pans, keeping rhythm to what I was hearing,” Bobo said. “By the time I was 5 years old, I hit the stage for the first time. I always knew that I wanted to be a musician.”

He got his big music break when Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys asked him to perform live at his wedding. “I was like, ‘Get out of here!'” Bobo said. A few months later, he got a call from Mike D to join The Beasties’ tour of “Check Your Head” (1992). Bobo’s drums can be heard on The Beasties’ next album “Ill Communication” (1994), which featured “Sabotage.”

“For 3 1/2 years, I was flip-flopping between Beastie Boys and Cypress!” Bobo said. “I was a big fan of Cypress, I was bumping their first record religiously during The Beasties’ tour.”

Cypress Hill had formed a few years earlier in 1988 in South Gate, California, the original lineup consisting of Cuban-born Sen Dog and his brother Mellow Man Ace, who left the group not long after the addition of DJ Muggs of New York and B-Real of Los Angeles.

Their debut album “Cypress Hill” (1991) featured the hit “How I Could Just Kill a Man,” followed by their second album “Black Sunday” (1993), which dropped two Grammy nominees with “I Ain’t Goin Out Like That” and the hip-hop classic “Insane in the Brain.”

“With the video showing how they were as a live group, including stage diving and slam dancing and everything like that, which was very popular at the time, I just think a lot of people related to that,” Bobo said. “I think that’s another reason Cypress was able to cross over and get a large alternative following, as well as a hip-hop following.”

Bobo officially joined Cypress Hill as the group headlined Woodstock ’94 and Lollapalooza ’95, crossing over to alternative crowds with the platinum album “III: Temples of Boom” (1995), featuring the Grammy-nominated song “Throw Your Set in the Air,” and their fourth album “IV” (1998), featuring the cannabis-themed single “Dr. Greenthumb.”

In 2000, they released the double-disc album “Skull & Bones,” where “Skull” was hip-hop and “Bones” was nu-metal rap. The former featured Eminem and Noreaga on “(Rap) Superstar,” while the latter featured Chino Moreno and Everlast on the smash hit “(Rock) Superstar,” which blew up on rock radio and played in the movie “Training Day” (2001).

“‘(Rap) Superstar’ was already in the can,” Bobo said. “There was no intention for ‘(Rock) Superstar.’ It wasn’t until Donnie Lenner, the vice president of Sony, said, ‘Yo! You should do ‘(Rock) Superstar!’ We were like, ‘But we’re not rock stars.’ He was like, ‘Add guitars, build it up!’ Before you know it, that was the one that really stuck out to everybody.”

Since then, Cypress Hill has continued to rattle off albums, including “Stoned Raiders” (2001), “Till Death Do Us Part” (2004), “Rise Up” (2010), “Elephants on Acid” (2018) and “Back in Black” (2022), which he promised to play at Hollywood Casino. Add it all up and you get the first hip-hop group ever to receive a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2019.

“It’s a great honor,” Bobo said. “We’re really appreciative of the fans and all of the support that they’ve given us, because without them, we wouldn’t be here. Just to allow us to make the music that we really want to make and be creative with it. Getting the Hollywood Walk of Fame and being the first hip-hop group to achieve that is amazing.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews Cypress Hill at Hollywood Casino (Part 2)

Hear our full conversation on my podcast “Beyond the Fame.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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