B-Real Clears Up False Perceptions With ‘Smoke N Mirrors’
Not everything is what it seems in the rap world, according to Cypress Hill frontman and new solo artist B-Real. So it seemed pretty logical to name his solo debut 'Smoke N Mirrors,' which is in stores now.
"It's based off of the way things are perceived in rap music," B-Real said during an interview with The Boombox. "You see these videos and all them kids that are in it. They're made to look like they're ballin' out -- they're chillin' in mansions, they're driving lambos, they have the hottest girls and the jewelry and stuff like that. They're giving fans the false perception of what it really is and the work that it takes to achieve the success to have all that sort of stuff. That's pretty much what inspired me to call the album 'Smoke N Mirrors.'"
The album, released through his newly formed Audio Hustlaz label in conjunction with Duck Down Records, has been three years in the making, B-Real explained. During that time, he wrote 40 songs and picked the best 16 to put on "Smoke N Mirrors."
"With Cypress, the work schedule was so crazy throughout our tenure with Sony that I never really had a chance to take time to do something like this," B-Real said. "When we recorded our last record for Sony -- not Cypress Hill's last record but for the contract we made with Sony -- we had a little bit of time after that because there was no deadline to turn a Cypress Hill record in until we wanted to start working on it. I figured everybody else had projects going on so I decided to take my time and work on a solo record during the time off."
Recording and writing the album was "different" for B-Real because he didn't have his "boys" -- Cypress Hill's Sen Dog, Eric Bobo or DJ Muggs--to bounce ideas off of.
"It was basically me carrying the load on my back," B-Real said. "That's all good. I love to do that. It's a challenge. But it was different in that sense. With Cypress, it's all of us with our creative input working together as one to make a solid album. With this, I had to take my experiences from recording with Cypress, bring it one to my solo stuff and bring out whatever the vibe was on my own, really."
The official lead single is the Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley-guested smoker's anthem 'Fire,' which finds B-Real flexing his beat-making skills behind the boards. Other key highlights include contributions from Snoop Dogg ('Dr. Hyphenstein'), Buckshot ('Everything You Want'), Too $hort & Kurupt ('When We're F----ing') and Sen Dog & Malverde ('One Life').
"I didn't intend to have that many collaborations. I'd only planned to have Snoop and possibly Ice Cube but Cube was busy so I didn't get a chance to get him on. All the other stuff just sort of happened. We're pretty much done with the album and certain heads started hearing it and wanted to be a part of it just to do me a solid and whatnot, how could I refuse?"