Myster DL on working with the undisputed Cypress unit, inspiration, and backstage joints
If you’re into cannabis and hip-hop, especially around New England, then chances are that you’re familiar with Myster DL, who for years has torn apart the MassCann Freedom Rally stage, and has been involved in countless weed and rap collaborations.
In addition to his output as an MC and producer, Myster DL has additionally built up an impressive resume behind the camera, directing videos for exalted icons such as Kool G Rap and Redman, as well as for the leading Mass-born likes of Slaine and Termanology.
With his Ill Mannered Films & Photography racking up millions of views, we thought to throw some questions at Myster DL, whose latest project is The Haunted Hill Documentary, featuring footage from October’s epic Cypress Hill show here in Boston. The director doesn’t always get the shine, but considering his recent track record it seemed like a critical check-in…
Do you remember the first time you saw Cypress Hill in concert? Had you ever been to Haunted Hill before?
The first time I saw Cypress Hill I was about 18. They were my favorite group, and I had still yet to smoke a puff of weed. I feel like not smoking weed until I was 19 made me miss out on how I should have been exposed to the group. I started late but made up for it. This is my third Haunted Hill concert, and I actually have about eight full Cypress Hill concerts on film.
Why document the Haunted Hill party in particular? Is it a night that the most rabid Cypress Hill fans are guaranteed to come out?
I found out about filming two or three hours before I filmed it, but I didn’t know what I was actually filming until I got there. I came prepared with three cameras and 18 batteries. They told me they wanted to document the night and make a short documentary about it, and they wanted me to interview fans and get some stage shots. I just went beyond that and got footage of everything from everywhere, without being in anyone’s way. These are serious fans who obtained meet and greet passes to get memorabilia and albums signed, and a lot of them had cool stories and were diehards. I wanted to shoot a music video, but it worked out even better… for now. The crowd is all dressed up, which is rare.
Both you and DJ Slim, two leading authorities on weed and hip-hop, say on film that your favorite Cypress album is Black Sunday. Please defend that, keeping in mind that I wrote a book with them about their real greatest album, the self-titled original.
Music is subjective. For me, in my life Black Sunday came out at my most impressionable moment, so maybe it’s not the best but to me it is. I love their first album, but Black Sunday was darker and I like dark sounds. DJ Muggs is the best, he can take a drum and bass and make magic… then add a siren and it’s like sorcery. It just came out at that time in my life where I was completely inspired to make music, in fact I’ve always credited that album as my source of inspiration. If you’re two years older, you might say that about album one, if you’re two years younger, you probably think Temples of Boom is the best. PS: Black Sunday is the best.
Is this the ultimate short doc about how to smoke weed backstage with Cypress Hill? Tell us something about your experience with that.
I don’t think there is any shots of us smoking weed together in this, however about 10 years ago there was a viral video of me and Cypress Hill smoking a cross joint. We always keep it lit, and they are one of the faces of cannabis culture, but this was more about the concert. Smoking with Cypress Hill is on every stoner’s bucket list.
Everyone at a Cypress concert has weed. A lot of them want to go backstage. Some even want to make documentaries. Why your weed? Why you backstage? Why do you get to make a doc?
I’ve known B Real for 13 years. I’ve been really close friends with Bobo for about 9 years. Sometimes not saying, “Hey, look at me rap” can get you far in life. They know I don’t have the desire to live the rap life and I’m just a guy who would rather stay home, smoke weed, write movies, and watch The Simpsons. I’m not a good bragger or self promoter, but the right people have always been able to find me for the right things. We have done music together though, movies, a TV show, a documentary, photo shoots, and more, but sometimes we just smoke. The weed speaks for itself, being famous doesn’t make your chronic any better or worse. I’ll hang with whoever.
As a director who himself like his smoke, how do you manage when you ultimately have to get business done and record, film, and make videos at the same time.
I have a big tolerance for weed. The first time I literally ever smoked I smoked nine blunts with Indo Joe, so to me that’s what smoking weed was. I also have ADHD and it helps me focus believe it or not. Could be mental and an excuse to blaze some train wreck. Marijuana helps with my creative process. I like to be left alone for a short time smoke and zone out… but i come up with my best ideas when I go to bed and I’m in-between that sleep and awake state… and then I have to wake up and write it down.
Is Cypress Hill our Frank Sinatra? One of those groups that hip-hop and weed heads will be loving ‘til our last day?
They are indeed that. They are a huge crossover act. People that absolutely hate rap music love Cypress Hill. They have represented hip-hop, Latinos in hip-hop, and cannabis on a big scale for three decades. They are icons and will be here forever.
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.