It's hard to imagine a time when hip-hop wasn't at the epicenter of pop music. Cypress Hill was around when this wasn't the case. In fact, one of the legendary group's biggest contributions to hip-hop was bringing Latin influences and fans into the fold. For music lovers in America's Southwest, Cypress Hill gave them something more personal to latch onto.

"We know we've made a contribution and stuff," B-Real tells The BoomBox. "In terms of what doors we opened, that's hard to say. I mean, Kid Frost and Mellow Man were the first to come through the door. We had a lot of success in it in comparison to them. There was Big Pun, too. We tried not to exploit that and make a big deal out of it, but we appreciate the fact that other people say that we contributed to that whole movement and that aspect of music and whatnot."

For Cypress Hill, it was more about staying true to a personal vision. If a few lines in Spanish made a song better, then sure, they did it up. If a beat was hot and featured trumpets and dancehall rhythms, then why not use it? The point is that it was never about making a point.

"We are what we are," he continued. "We never meant to exploit any of it. We just sort of wanted to say, 'OK this is us. We'll give you a little flavor here and there.' We didn't realize how much of an impression or inspiration it was to do that sort of style. Really, to do that style at that time, we were taking a chance. Record companies really didn't know how to market that. The Latin audience wasn't buying rap music back then, even if it was Latin rap. It was hard to get it off. People wouldn't buy it unless it was sort of a dance thing."

%VIRTUAL-globalVideoEmbed-{"videoIds":"517722641","width":"400","height":"346"}%

Download 'Rise Up' on iTunes