Beastie Boys, Cypress Hill and the Roots of Alt-Rap

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Beastie Boys, "So What'cha Want"

Today is one of those cosmological coincidences so uncanny it may be no coincidence at all: the Beastie Boys' Mike D and Cypress Hill's Sen Dog were both born this day in 1965. (Scorpios represent!) In the late '80s and early '90s, from opposite sides of the U.S., no two groups were more responsible for spreading hip-hop culture beyond its roots in black American inner-city neighborhoods and into suburban middle-class neighborhoods, marijuana-clouded college dorm rooms and el barrio, then onto MTV and Lollapalooza and beyond.

Cypress Hill, "Ain't Goin' Out Like That"

Both groups are nominally still around, though shadows of their former selves, so let's remember the good old days when every white kid in your high school would either get in your face yelling "whatcha, whatcha, whatcha want" or snuck out to the parking lot during lunch and came back muttering something about being "insane in the membrane." Better to just remember them as they were when the world was young and no one had heard of T-Pain yet. - Chris Gray

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