A versatile American hip-hop group based out of Orange County, California, the Kottonmouth Kings emerged in 1996 with an eclectic — and cannabis-centric — sound that integrated punk, psychedelic rock, reggae, and hardcore rap. The group first attracted attention from the mainstream in 1997 with the track "Suburban Life," which appeared on the soundtrack to the horror-comedy film Scream 2 and became a modern rock radio hit. They continued to brashly beat the rap-rock drum over the next two decades, maintaining a fierce independent streak and issuing a slew of high-charting albums like Koast II Koast (2006), Long Live the Kings (2010), and Kingdom Come (2018).
The self-described "psychedelic hip-hop punk rock" outfit, comprised of former Humble Gods frontman Brad Daddy X, rappers Saint Vicious and D-Loc, DJ Bobby B, and "visual assassin" Pakelika, drew both commercial and critical praise for their 1997 breakout hit "Suburban Life." After issuing an EP, Stoners Reeking Havoc, on their own Suburban Noize label in early 1998, the Kottonmouth Kings released the full-length Royal Highness on Capitol that summer. Hidden Stash, a collection of B-sides, rarities, and remixes, followed a year later, and their third album, High Society, pushed them further into the mainstream on the strength of the singles "Peace Not Greed" and "Close Call." Gigs with D12 and Bionic Jive followed in fall 2001, just prior to the release of Hidden Stash, Vol. 2 : Kream of the Krop. A fifth studio album, Rollin' Stoned, which was produced by Brad X, appeared in October 2002.
The self-explanatory Classic Hits Live hit the airwaves in 2003 while the band continued its expansion of the Suburban Noize empire, putting out videos and albums by rappers and punk bands. Their 2004 release, Fire It Up, peaked at number 42 on the Billboard 200 chart and came out on the stoner's holiday, 4/20. The Kings returned in 2005 with their seventh album, a self-titled effort that featured guest shots from like-minded pals like Cypress Hill and Tech Nine. Unfortunately, the combo was forced to postpone its summer tour when D-Loc sustained a foot injury. Koast II Koast became the band's eighth studio full-length in June of 2006, and rose to the number three slot on the Billboard Independent Album Chart. The compilation Hidden Stash III appeared at the end of the year, with a new full-length outing, Cloud Nine, arriving in 2007. Like the Kings' 2004 album Fire It Up, 2010 album Long Live the Kings was also released on the stoner's holiday of 4/20. Sunrise Sessions would follow a year later, featuring more of a reggae, dubstep, bluegrass and jam band vibe, while 2012's Mile High returned to the world of rap-rock while reuniting the group with founding member Saint Dog. In 2015, the Kings climbed into the Top Ten of Billboard's Rap Albums chart with Krown Power, an album that featured the Insane Clown Posse along with reggae legend Marlon Asher. The OC rappers returned in 2018 with their 14th studio long-player, Kingdom Come, followed by the compilation LP Most Wanted Highs in early 2019. ~ Jason Ankeny