‘It took a day to do the beat, three hours to write the lyrics, and an hour to record. There was a lot of weed being smoked’
Lawrence ‘DJ Muggs’ Muggerud, turntables, samples
I came up with the beat in my apartment in Queens, New York. At first, it was slower, but the stone-age drum machine we had could only go up or down in increments of six BPM. So when B-Real started rapping on it, I had to speed it up from 96 to 102. It went from being a slow groove to a club banger.
The format of the song is similar to Jump Around by House of Pain. I came up with the beat for Jump Around right after Cypress Hill’s first album. But B-Real, our rapper, didn’t want to go back into the studio so quickly. I offered it to Ice Cube but he passed, so I gave it to House of Pain – and it became huge. I wanted to do more with that sort of sound, so I packed Insane in the Brain with hooks.
I assembled the track in my apartment, putting the horns together with the bassline. There’s one sound people think is a neighing horse, but it was a horn. I read that I’m supposed to have sampled James Brown and Sly Stone, but that’s way off. It took about a day to do the beat, three hours to write the lyrics, then about an hour to record it. There was a lot of weed smoked but we were pretty prepared. When the vibe’s right, the shit’s right. We’d just go in and attack.
I knew it was going be a big record but I never imagined how big. I was a millionaire at 21. A lot of motherfuckers don’t survive that shit. Today, it’s got over 90m YouTube hits. If YouTube had been here in 1993, we’d have a billion by now. The song’s become iconic and seems to have struck a chord. I guess everybody goes crazy at some time in their life.