Judging from even a cursory glance at today's major newspapers and news magazines, the collective mental state of the world's population can best be described as chaotic: the lives and deaths of the many are determined by the few; myriad wars and rumors of wars are spawned on a daily basis, from the countless border clashes that spontaneously combust on the global scale to the ongoing turf battles taking place in Everyhood, USA; financial and political might is held in higher regard than principle-centered living and esteemed with an admiration that borders on worship, while respect for human life seeps away like blood from multiple bullet wounds.
From within this current state of world-wide insanity emerges The Psycho Realm. Maintaining a delicate balance between profound self-analysis and keen observation of the external environment, this three-man team from the tension-heavy barrios of downtown Los Angeles comes forth when society - including Hip Hop itself - seems to be on the verge of a breakdown. After a decade of paying dues, fact-finding, and gathering information about the world at large, they're ready to disseminate their conclusions to the masses.
"Our mission is to teach the people street politics, government politics, and even spirituality in some ways," declares group elder B-Real. "You've got to learn about your situation and acknowledge it. After you acknowledge it, you've gotta find a way to get out of it. People will hold you back all day, but if you let yourself get held back, you've got nobody to blame but yourself." Most notable for his role in making fellow Ruffhouse/Columbia hit-squad Cypress Hill an international multi-platinum sensation, he hooked up with his current teammates, Jacken and Mr. Duke, after meeting them at a Psycho Realm performance and recognizing the limitless potential within the two young brothers.
Bringing years of well-earned experience to the group, B-Real is the seasoned veteran of the three whose guidance and knowledge of the arts of mic-wielding are vital to the group's impending success. The next one-third can best be described as "sick intellect." Jacken is unanimously recognized for his brilliant writing, even among his equally prolific compatriots. And Mr. Duke, responding to the constant nerve-wracking state of the world in his unique fashion, can only be called "total pandemonium."
The Psycho Realm's self titled opus, replete with thought-provoking lyrics and truly innovative production, signifies the long-waited return to message music. A far cry from the oft-times preachy "holier than thou" material found on most socio-politically conscious music, the group's no-holds barred approach to their craft gives the album the hard-edged authenticity which appeals to the most jaded of listeners. But it becomes quickly apparent that this is no cliched "life is rough on the streets, so I'm gonna be rougher" type of record. Instead, B-, Jack, and Duke's verbal observations are more like philosophic musings to accompany their extremely graphic depictions of the world around them. In keeping with that ideal, the album's firsst single, "Psycho City Blocks," is a taste of Psycho Realm doing what they do best: delivering their war reports with more than enough style to satisfy the most discenring hip-hop heads across the map.
With the creative use of samples and "unorthodox" instruments - including haunting piano chords and guitars reminiscent of the old spaghetti-westerns - found throughout the album, the production team known as The Psycho Ward (consisting of all three group members and long-time Cypress Hill percussionist Bo-Bo) will surely be the subject of much discourse on music to come.
Composing their starkly vivid illustrations for the many heads coast to coast who can definitely relate to the stressful mind-state that living in today's madness can bring, the threesome have created an album with truly universal appeal. Concludes B-Real: "The one thing we made sure we did was make a 'bicoastal' album that East Coast motherfuckers are gonna be boppin their heads to, and West Coast, and everybody between them: Southwest, Midwest, overseas. Everybody deserves to hear a good hip-hop record." And because the everyday stresses of today's society - from minor, everyday hassles to war-inducing atrocities - are universal by nature, the group's debut will no doubt be regarded as a globe spanning classic.
Welcome to the real world. Welcome to The Psycho Realm....