Cypress Hill and Tom Morello want you to party like it's 1996


Somewhere out there, in the dank, festering recesses of converted suburban sub-basement apartments plastered with Shinehead, Insane Clown Posse, and House of Pain posters and heaped high with Noam Chomsky texts and shrinkwrapped Jerky Boys cassettes live people who genuinely want -- nay, need -- new music from Cypress Hill and Rage Against The Machine.

They crave it, like crackheads.

When Cypress Hill wandered onstage at Lollapalooza 1995 and ushered out a gaudy, golden inflatable Buddha, and everyone in the venue busted out their dime bags and lit up, and then it was "Hits From the Bong" and "I Could Just Kill a Man" and "Insane in the Brain," that happening did not represent for them -- as it did for everybody else -- the zenith of what they would need from Cypress Hill.

It did not seem, to them -- again, as it did for pretty much everyone else -- that the three albums that followed Rage Against The Machine's 1993 debut were unduly redundant or, indeed, unnecessary, even if the required reading was worth signing up for a library card for.

For these subterranean, paranoiac aliens, red-eyed and wary, "Rise Up" must seem like manna from Heaven, a call to arms for their brethern, or something.

For the rest of us it's just yet another lead single from yet another post-"Insane in the Brain" Cypress Hill album we can safely ignore without regret, except that this one features ex-Rage Against The Machine axman Tom Morello jizzing all over it.

(The next single from this album purportedly features cameos from Marc Anthony and Pitbull. Seriously. I confess: I'm intrigued. Vaguely.)

"Rise Up" delights in the mixing of metaphors, metaphors that seem to be at cross-purposes. The group's coterie of interchangable rapping mooks seems to be simultaneously exhorting us to rebel and revolt against oppressive authority figures (cops, mainly, as they're most visible and close at hand), to trick out our cars with expensive, attention-grabbing hydraulic systems, and to get so baked on gourmet weed that we can barely move.

Here's what I want to know: who among you seriously, in 2010, wants to hear Morello mash whatever well-worn effects pedal he employs to evoke the sonic equivalent of staring slack-jawed at an 3-D MC Eicher hidden picture mural for four minutes that feel like the longest four hours ever? Do you really, sincerely thirst for more of his porno psychedelic funk, this time set to stale thug blather? Are there really enough scruffily goateed, wallet-chained, skater-shorts wearing malcontents stalking the malls of this great nation -- or Xboxing the weekend away, whatever -- to justify this song's sad, desperate existence?