Snoop Dogg is hitting the ground running in his new position as executive chairman of EMI/Priority Records, signing famed hip-hop group Cypress Hill to the label. Earlier this week, the group made a surprise appearance during Snoop's performance of 'I Wanna Rock' on 'Lopez Tonight.' In an announcement made Friday (Jan. 15) Snoop confirmed the news and shared his enthusiasm for the new venture.

"My role as Creative Chairman of Priority Records has put me in the driver's seat to help revive the most important west coast hip-hop label," Snoop said in a statement. "As such, I'm excited to announce my first signing as Cypress Hill. Cypress Hill is undeniably one of the most important hip-hop groups in music history, not only are they incredibly talented and the first Latino hip-hop group to go platinum, they are also from the West Coast, so this signing is the perfect marriage."

The group will release their first album in six years, 'Rise Up,' via the label. The Los Angeles natives have been working on the album for more than three years. "We took a little break after the last record to work on individual projects," member B-Real said in an interview. "Both Sen Dog and I wanted to put out our own solo records, which we had been working on for some time. Though we were doing other things, we each kept ideas in mind for Cypress Hill and would go into the studio periodically to record. It was an amazing way to work and resulted in what I think is our best record yet."

Snoop was named creative chairman of the label last summer, and hopes to move forward in resuscitating the presence of west coast rappers at the label. Founded in 1985, the label was once home to west coast hip-hop pioneers like Eazy E, Ice Cube, and N.W.A.

Gaining popularity for their 1993 hit 'Insane in the Membrane,' Cypress Hill went on to sell over 18 million records worldwide. 'Rise Up' hits stores April 6.

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