B-Real Smoke N Mirrors

B-Real Smoke N Mirrors
After 17 years, B-Real has finally stepped outside the hazy comfort of Cypress Hill to release his first solo album, Smoke N Mirrors. Unfortunately the disc proves to be a middling effort that will have true Cypress Hill fans wondering if he should lay off the pipe a little. After a few hiccups at the beginning, the release shows some promise. The Scoop Deville produced "Don't Ya Dare Laugh" featuring Xzibit and Young De has B-Real firing warning shots over some hydraulic funk that samples the vocal melody of Suzanne Vega's "Tom's Diner." "Everything You Want" proves that B-Real's new affiliation with Duck Down Records could be fruitful, as Buckshot blesses the track with some dope bars. The good times don't last, however, as is proven with the predictable ragga-flavoured "Fire" featuring Damian Marley, and the jiggy "Dr. Hypenstein" showcases what sounds like a phoned-in verse from Snoop. With nary a track produced by Muggs (?) this project sounds like too much of a departure from the Cypress aesthetic while simultaneously not feeling like a true Duck Down product. Let's hope the next release B-Real pushes out has less smoke and more fire. (Duck Down/Audio Hustlaz)