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Funky Drummer: Musical Meetings with Eric Bobo of Cypress Hill
11/25/08 - interview by Dante (click for 1st interview)


Eric Bobo

Percussion madman Eric Bobo made his first public appearance at the age of 5, performing on stage with his father, Latin Jazz legend Willie Bobo. As the jazz scene evolved through the 80s and hip hop became a dominant force in music, Bobo found his calling, and ultimately toured and recorded with the Beastie Boys.While on tour, he met Cypress Hill and joined the group as their percussionist for their world tours, splitting time between both groups. As the Beasties began taking major touring breaks, Bobo became an official full time Cypress Hill member in 1994 and has toured and recorded with the group ever since.

From his childhood as a Puerto Rican surrounded by Latin jazz legends to his days immersing himself in the underground hip hop scene and touring the world stages with the Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill, ‘Meeting of the Minds’ brings together the best of Bobo’s friends and creative collaborators. Bobo speaks with LatinRapper in this exclusive interview. What can you tell us about Meeting of the Minds?

The album to me is a combination of wanting to try to do different things, different genres, and put them all together. A combination of the kind of stuff I've done in the past with different people. Kind of wanted to portray that in a way that I can really reach an audience that may not be all Hip Hop, may not be all alternative, all Spanish Hip Hop. I just wanted to bridge a gap and this is my attempt to do that.

My last interview with you was four years ago when you were releasing your solo, how does this album compare to that one?

I think that was the beginning of figuring out what I wanted to do. I think a true solo album with just me will probably be next in the works. I just needed to do an album that wasn't niched right off the bat. I could have done a Latin jazz solo album, I could have done a few other things. I wanted to give a taste of different things. I think the next album will probably be the same way, but maybe more me. This album is definitely a stepping stone.

You mention making an album more you, on this album you've done production and mixing, what made you decide to not really inject yourself into it lyrically?

I just kind of touched on that a little bit with this record. I definitely play on all the tracks, I do that. I just wanted to be more hands on in other areas, it fell into my lap in that way. That's kind of like the direction of what happened.

Guest features include the usual suspects like B-Real, Sick Jacken, Hurricane Gloria, Kemo, Thirstin Howell. But then you've got under the radar cats, how did you decide to put them on?

Some of them I've known or met throughout the years, and they had their projects going on. There was just something about, out of the sound and feeling of it. For example, Cultura Londres, they've been doing their own thing. Upon me hearing some of the tracks, I'm like, wow, I was really interested in the progressiveness of the sound. That group hasn't really been signed or anything like that, I thought that maybe I could add something to that by putting my flavor to it.


It was just a combination of me really believing in their sound and doing something that I know that I can put my little piece in. I didn't want to make it just a star-studded album whereas everybody's known, I thought it would be kind of cool to also have underground cats that's bubbling under the radar.

You mentioned Cultura Londres, who I've been a fan of since their hit "Good Times." From what I understand, aren't you a de facto member of the group?

Yeah. Basically throughout the recording of the solo stuff, I spent some time out in London. Recorded, did a few shows, everything like that. Kind of got a good vibe with the guys. Upon them hearing what I could do on some of the tracks that they had sent to me, they just spoke to me and said, how would you like to be a member. I'm like, wow, you know, that would be cool, be something different. I like the guys musically and also admirably, I thought it would be kind of cool. Looking on to doing future stuff for sure.

Speaking of Cultura, Fiesta is one of my favorite cuts on the CD, what would you say was your favorite track on the new album?

Wow.... Fiesta is up there, Mucho Calor, that was pretty different for me, I do like that. You have things like En Mi Barrio, just the way that was constructed, I like that. Especially the Tony Touch joint, too. Even though it's an intro, kind of reminds me of Spanish Harlem, jamming kind of thing. Those are probably some of my standouts.

You have a sample of your pops on that intro cut with Tony Touch, right?

Yes. Yeah yeah yeah. I thought it was kind of fitting, every time I would play with him, he would introduce me on stage. I kind of felt like that was handing the torch down, I released his album a couple years back. I said that that album had to come out first before my album. This was kind of like the passing of the torch, I have completed what I set out to do as far as that. Now I can go forward.

And that's a solid intro because you've got Tony Touch, Thirstin Howell the III, Hurricane Gloria, the whole Puerto Rican thing.

(laughs) Yeah the Rican thing, that's for sure. It was a surprise because I contacted Tony, and I didn't know that he was going to bring in Thirstin and Hurricane Gloria, but I'm glad that he did. It all worked out, it was great.

Who was someone that you would have liked to get on the album that you didn't?

Ah, wow.... Man, it's kind of difficult because the people that I reached out to all participated. As far as future stuff, I could see doing some kind of collabo like an Everlast, I'd like to do more stuff with Sekreto. I wanted to do something with Tego and Mala Rodriguez. I was really looking in that area, but hopefully for next time.

Two great artists, Mala Rodriguez, probably the best Hip Hop artist out in Spain.

Yeah, she's fire. She's fire.

And Tego you worked with on "Latin Thugs" for that other Cypress Hill album.

Yeah, yes.

So hopefully we'll get that solo collabo. Are you touring?

I'm going to be doing some shows in December. I look to do some touring at the top of the year, I'm definitely going to go out and support the record. I really look forward to playing some new songs, getting it all collected.

Last interview you mentioned putting out a percussion tutorial called the "Bobo Sessions", are you still involved with that?

I have, but there are a bunch of reels that have been taped. I think in the midst of starting to focus on the record, and Cypress shows, we had stopped taping. But I definitely want to get that back into motion, we definitely have a good 50 hours of tape, we do have something good to start off with.


Hopefully that will surface sometime in 2009, to get everything we want to get out there intact. Because it's a crazier time with the way the record business is, the economy is. We definitely want to finish it and get it out there, see what happens.

You've been down with Cypress since 1992, what are the odds that we'll see you and the others on tour in 2012, marking a 20 year anniversary?

That would be kind of interesting, you know, if we can do that. I think that we'll make it that far, I definitely do. I've been telling the guys that I want to stop the touring thing by 55. Proper retirement age, you know. I can definitely see us hitting the 20 year mark, I'm excited for the future with Cypress, the stuff that we've been doing for the new record is really dope. Looking to get that out by middle of next year. I think that we still got business to keep going until 2012.

Compay Segundo with Buena Vista Social Club was still touring in his 90's.

Yeah, well see, that's that old school. My dad was like, 'I'm not going to stop playing until I die.' They had that thing, that's what they did. For me, personally, I've been performing since I've been five. I've definitely put time in there, I just know how it is as far as being away. Wanting to start a family, start to do stuff, want to be more grounded.


I know that the road really wears you down. I didn't want to be one of those cats that was still playing at 65, 70 years old. and people come to see me and be like, 'ah man you should have seen him back in the day, he was doing this, he used to do this.' Then you just see a shadow of that person. That's one fear of mine, I figure get out when you can still do all this s**t.

I've spoken to Sen and B-Real about the new Cypress album coming out this year, is that in the cards, or on hold?

I would say middle of next year. There's between 30, 35 songs already put down. We've definitely been working on it in the midst of all the solo stuff. A more realistic time is probably going to be May, June.

Have you guys settled on an album title?

Kind of ideas of one, but not really, not yet. I think the songs will help shape the title. We have a working title, and it's called "Smoke", but I think that will probably be changed.

Anything else you'd like to mention about Meeting of the Minds?

Enjoy the album. Thank everybody for supporting me with Cypress, the whole Cypress clique, now getting meeting of the minds is a big moment for me, I thank everybody for supporting. Be sure we're in your town, check us out, that's going to be a banging show right there, check it out!

Any last thoughts for the fans?

Thank you very much for all the years of support, we look forward to many more years.


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