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CD Review: Cypress Hill's Rise Up 

The Deal: B-Real and Sen Dog are back. Trio releases first album in six years on Snoop Dogg's Priority Records label.

The Good: The unique vocal tones of B-Real and Sen Dog have always set Cypress Hill apart from the pack. While the band may have faded out a bit in recent years, Rise Up is a clear sign the group is looking forward in full-steam-ahead fashion. There are two lead singles from the album that clearly show the influence and versatility of the band. The title track gets a solid rock groove thanks to the guitar work of Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello. "Armada Latina" features Pitbull and Marc Antony over a riff from Crosby, Stills and Nash's "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" and could easily become a Latin anthem. Morello appears again on "Shut 'Em Down" – another track with a riff that could be considered a Rage outtake – and other guests on the album include Everlast, System of a Down's Daron Malakian – who offers his staccato guitar work on "Trouble Seeker" – and Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda.

The Bad: I can't decide if I like "Armada Latina" because of the song itself, or because I'm a fan of CSN. Either way, it's a catchy tune.

The Verdict: This isn't the tongue-in-cheek, not-so-serious version of the band that was focused on weed and having fun – not to say they don't talk about pot or have a sample from Cheech and Chong on the album. However, overall, there's more of a message here without abandoning who they are. Definitely one of the band's better efforts. I'd also guess that "Armada Latina" is gonna be heard all over the place.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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