Sen Dog - Day Of The Dog
West Coast hip hop pioneers Cypress Hill boast a career spanning 17 years. It is only now that one-third of the crew, Sen Dog, is releasing his debut solo effort, Diary Of A Mad Dog. 3D’s Matt Unicomb finds out all about it.
Cypress Hill are known for three things: their advocation of marijuana, two MCs with the most recognisable voices in hip hop, and being Latino. These traits have accompanied them throughout a seminal, 17-year career, notching up 17 million album sales worldwide. Consisting of MCs Sen Dog and B Real, and producer/DJ DJ Muggs, Cypress Hill have become one of the most recognised and influential hip hop acts of all-time.
It is after these 17, Cypress Hill years that Sen Dog has completed his debut solo album. Released in Australia earlier this month, Diary Of A Mad Dog is being hailed for its diversity, advanced lyricism, and intricate production. Regardless, a solo album 17 years into a music career still comes as a surprise. “It wasn’t a priority, man,” Sen says of the late release of his debut solo record. “Being part of Cypress took a lot of my time. In recent years I’ve been needing a new challenge, but I didn’t know it. Putting together a solo album is the artistic challenge I needed.”
The diversity present on Diary Of A Mad Dog is something previously unseen on any single Cypress Hill releases. Rather than sticking to either the straight up hip hop, or rap fusion that his group is known to saturate each release with, he has presented a mixed bag, ranging from drum n bass influenced production, to spacey guitar riff riddled beats; Diary Of A Mad Dog is the definition of eclectic. “The diversity was intentional,” he explains. “I didn’t have any game plan going into the recording process. I wrote most of the rhymes in the studio that day at the studio. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I just wanted to write something that sounded fun.”
At the base of this diversity, is the assortment of the aforementioned beats. Interestingly, Sen Dog has opted out from the DJ Muggs production that brought Cypress Hill so much praise. “I was listening to a bunch of different stuff, and just grabbing whatever I felt,” he explains of the pre-recording process. “The first track is a song called Fumble. It was from a dude I’ve never worked with before. I didn’t care who it was, whether or not I’d worked with them before – I was going to make it sound like one piece of music. It’s not difficult to do when you stay true to your art form, and remain a true music fan. When you push it, the fans and the media spot a phoney right away.”
After making music as part of a crew for 17 years, one would expect some degree of anxiety when stepping into the studio solo for the first time. “I’m glad that I waited all this time. When people are like, ‘Yo, Sen. You’ve waited like 17 years to do a solo record – whatsup-’ It adds a bit of shock factor. I’m glad that I waited.”
Possessing one of the deepest voices in West Coast hip hop, Sen Dog has complemented the hardcore, gangster rap movement with his menacing vocals and booming MCing. “When I was a young kid, being influenced by Chuck D, I used to imitate him all the time,” he laughs. “It became natural. One day B Real was like, ‘do it deeper, man, and back me up on this line.’ We were like, ‘damn, that shit sounded good.’”
WHO: Sen Dog
WHAT: Diary Of A Mad Dog through Shock
WHEN: Out now