(Interviewed By: Alonzo El Baquero)
This month we are hanging in the barrio with one of the most talented & gifted artist in the latin & urban scene. We have the pleasure to kick it with Eric Bobo from the Legendary Cypress Hill.
SB: What it do Bobo. I would like to start off with some background info on you. Let the people know where you originally reside from? (born) – Your cultural background?
Bobo: I was born in New York City. Hollis, Queens to be exact. I was raised in L.A. I’m from Puerto Rican decent.
SB: Now, You come from a percussionist background. Your father was a Latin Jazz Musician; The late great – Willie Bobo. How much of an influence did that have on your musical career?
Bobo: He had a major influence on me since he was my first musical influence. I learned a lot from him especially of how to listen to other musicians and improvise. It’s helped me so much in my career. He passed away when I turned 15 but what I learned from him gave me the tools to be able to be where I am now. I’m thankful to him for his teachings.
SB: We consider you a pioneer in hip hop when it comes to being a percussionist. The live percussion blended with the dj gives a unique experience. The crowds seem to really drive off that energy. Live instruments have become very popular amongst the hip hop genre and quite a norm. Can you explain to us your first time experience of doing a live hip hop show? The early days with The Beastie Boys?
Bobo: Back in the late 80’s, I used to have a group with some friends of mine called “Methodical Funk” & we were essentially a band that had an MC & a singer. Our influences were groups like N.W.A. & Public Enemy so we always had a hip hop edge to our songs. We never got signed or anything but as far as my early memories of doing a hip hop show, it would be with that group even though I used to perform “Rapper’s Delight” with my dad’s band when I was about 9 or 10. My first experience with a well-known hip hop group was the Beastie Boys. I started with them in 1992.
SB: How did you hook up with Cypress Hill?
Bobo: I first met Cypress in 1992 when they opened for the Beastie Boys on their “Check Your Head” tour, which was my first tour with the B-Boys. I watched their set every night for the 2 weeks they were on the tour. I started hanging out on their bus a bunch. They always had bomb weed!! They always rocked the stage and destroyed their turntables every night. I wondered how many turntables they were touring with because they went through so many. We talked about doing some stuff together because they were checkin’ out the B-Boys set every night and liked what I was doing. I did my first show with Cypress at Cerritos College in late 92 & I only played on one song, which was “Latin Lingo”. My next gig was doing the Soul Assassins tour in 1993 with House of Pain, Funkdoobiest & The Whooliganz.
SB: Now, your resume is deep! You have collaborated with many artists. From hip hop to Rock. Which collaboration really sticks out?
Bobo: To be honest, there are two. In the studio, I would say doing the first Psycho Realm album and recording with The Black Crowes. I learned so much from just those two sessions that I felt confident that I could produce and make my own records.
SB: Your debut album; The Meeting of The Minds. Great work. A lot of variety. What made you choose the album title?
Bobo: Thank you!! I really am proud of that album. I wanted to make an album that reflected a lot of my different musical tastes and influences. I didn’t want to just make a hip hop album. I wanted to make an album that was more open because don’t just do hip hop. I had the opportunity to work with artists that I admire and also friends that I’ve made throughout the years. It was a great experience.
SB: Being that it was a solo venture; Was it a difficult process to pick all the collaborations? You worked with many different artists on this album with different styles. How much influence did the artists have on the sound or was it strictly your creative direction?
Bobo: It was difficult to pick the collabs because I did have a healthy wish list. I also got people that I never expected to get like Toy Selectah (Control Machete), Ill Bill & the Demigodz. I basically told some of the producers the direction I wanted but some also did stuff that catered to my percussions so everyone was on the same page or at least the same chapter. Ultimately, I picked what I liked then put it together like a puzzle. That was the tedious part.
SB: Are you currently working on a new album or planning a new solo release? If so…what can we expect? Any Spoiler?
Bobo: There are a few things in the works. Firstly, a new mixtape from Bobo meets Rhettmatic. For those who don’t know about my project with DJ Rhettmatic of the World Famous Beatjunkies, go to www.BobomeetsRhettmatic.com and get on board. I also have my next solo album in the works. It’s in the very early stages so I can’t elaborate on it too much but I’m looking forward to doing that. I also have a drum & bass/metal project called “Sol Invicto” with Stephen Carpenter of the Deftones, Richie Londres (Cultura Londres) & A.J. Cookson. It’s pretty brutal.
SB: Now we have a little Straight Barrio Questionaire we like to do. Short answers questions for people to get to know you even better. Quick answers. IMMEDIATE THOUGHTS!
1) Aside from any of your work…favorite 3 albums of all time?
- Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions
- Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon
- Willie Bobo – Spanish Grease
2) Biggest distraction on tour?
3) What city in the world has had the craziest and rowdiest crowd / fans?
Bobo: Santiago, Chile
4) Weed – natural or hydro?
Bobo: Natural is preferred but can’t hate on hydro.
5) Munchies time…what food hits the spot?
Bobo: Cheese & crackers
6) Artist dead or Alive…who would you like to or would you have liked to collaborate with?
7) Favorite Movie?
Bobo: The Godfather 1 & 2
8) Favorite television show?
Bobo: The Sopranos
9) Favorite instrument?
10) Favorite Cypress Hill song?
Bobo: This is a hard one but one big favorite is “Cuban Necktie”
11) Favorite song off of Meeting of The Minds?
Bobo: Another hard question but for this interview, I’ll say “Apocalypse Now”
12) Salsa, Jazz or Mambo?
Bobo: Mambo, Salsa, Jazz……in that order!!!
Eric bobo, thank you for taking time off your busy schedule to give us an exclusive interview! Straight Barrio salutes you! Any last mentions…shout outs or plugs?
Bobo: Thanks for the interview!!! I wanna thank all the people that have supported both Cypress Hill & myself throughout all of these years and expect more music in the future. Also be sure to check out these websites :