DJ Muggs – “Winter 2” review

DJ Muggs is a 53 year old producer & DJ from Queens, New York who came up as part of The 7A3 alongside the Bouldin Brothers in the late 80s. The trio only put out 1 album together but as the 90s approached, Muggs started to become a household name in the west coast as the producer for Cypress Hill & the leader of the Soul Assassins. He would go on to release 4 solo efforts & after dominating 2021 by fully producing projects like Death & the Magician or Cartagena, Muggs is returning for a Winter sequel given that the 1-year anniversary of that album is coming up next month.

After the “Winter 2 Theme” intro, the first song “Beaming Hi” by RLX is a symphonic opener spitting the fly lifestyle he’s living these days whereas “Absolem Reprise” by Roc Marciano takes a dusty boom bap route talking about being prone to kill it. “All White Party” by Meyhem Lauren fuses together some keyboards & punchy drums spitting that they gotta kill him to take his spot leading into RLX returning for the jazzy yet drumless “Have a Bad Day” hoping that on those who get in his face.

Meanwhile on “L.A. County”, we have T.F. coming into the picture ominously detailing his life as a Crip just before “Panoramic Sunroof” by Crimeapple keeps the boom bap vibes going detailing his mind moving as fast as the drugs he’s pushing. “God Killa” by Rigz has a bit of an Italian flare to the instrumental talking about killing motherfuckers’ egos, but then “Father Time” by Ill Bill takes a dark electronic approach expressing his desire to chop bodies up.

“More Fire” by Hologram weaves in some heavenly vocals throughout saying you can’t ruin his game while the vibraphone-heavy “Absolem Reprise, Pt. 2” by Roc Marciano perfectly picks up right where the predecessor left off lyrically. The final song “It’s Over” by RLX mixes a guitar & an organ talking about the title he earned from his gusto, but “Winter Black Ice” finishes the album off with an instrumental piece similar to the intro.

Overall, I think this is a worthy sequel to round out such a prolific year in Muggs’ career. I like how he gives a couple of the guest MCs more shine rather than just giving them 1 joint each as well as the diversity of sound throughout.

Score: 3.5/5

DJ Muggs – “Dies Occidendum” review

This is a brand new collection of beats from Queens-born albeit California based producer, deejay & audio engineer DJ Muggs. Coming up as 1/3 of The 7A3 alongside the Bouldin brothers in the late 80s, it would later go to become a household name in the west coast as the producer for Cypress Hill & the leader of the Soul Assassins collective. The Black Goat also has 3 solo albums under his belt, the latest being Winter just 3 months ago. However after lacing Rome Streetz’ latest album Death & the Magician to universal acclaim just a couple weeks ago, Muggs is continuing to stay busy by dropping Dies Occidendum.

The opener “Incantation” pretty much sets the tone for the album as it has an eerie, cavernous tone to it while the next track “The Chosen One” goes into a more trap/witch house direction & I really just can’t get enough of how evil the atmosphere of it is. “Nigrum Mortem” has a more distorted tone as it incorporates the sound of organs & guitars while the “Liber Null” instrumental feels like a wild rollercoaster with it’s multiple switch-ups throughout it’s 4 minute run. “Alphabet of Desire” has a more melancholic vibe in comparison to the previous cuts while the “Subconscious” instrumental goes into an industrial direction with hi-hats firing off like a minigun.

“Veni Vidi Amavi” is easily the most chilled out track of the bunch with it’s smokey atmosphere while the “Anointed” instrumental goes back into that trap sound except it contains these ghostly shrills throughout. The penultimate track “Anicca” starts with some dramatic string melodies, but then things get quiet for about 30 seconds until the bass & hi-hats hit & then the closer “Transmogrification” is dominated by cricket noises for a good bulk of it’s 5-minute runtime with the exception of some mystical-like harmonies during the first minute as well as the sounds of something burning during the last minute & a half.

I know we’re not even finished with the first quarter of 2021, but goddamn is Muggs on a roll right now. Death & the Magician is still very much my album of the year so far, but these are some of the darkest collection of sounds he’s put together in a while & is highly recommended to any Cypress Hill fan.

Score: 4/5

DJ Muggs – “Winter” review

DJ Muggs is a 52 year old producer & DJ from Queens, New York who came up as part of The 7A3 alongside the Bouldin Brothers in the late 80s. The trio only put out 1 album together but as the 90s approached, Muggs started to become a household name in the west coast as the producer for Cypress Hill & the leader of the Soul Assassins. He would go on to release 2 solo albums & with the 8 year anniversary of his previous one Bass for Your Face approaches next month, Muggs is finally delivering a follow-up.

After the “Winter is Here” intro, the first song “Warning Shots” by Boldy James talks about swimming or sinking over a creepy-sounding beat whereas the next track “Olympic Stamps” by Cappadonna talks about how his crew rolls thick comes together over a rowdy instrumental. The song “Japanese Space Program” by RLX talks about wanting all the riches over an operatic beat while the track “Food on My Fork” by Rome Streetz shouts out those who think they can go toe-to-toe with him over a rock-flavored instrumental.

The song “Veneno” by Crimeapple, Eto & Meyhem Lauren sees the 3 talking about that fly shit over a minimalist beat while the penultimate track “Resume” by Hologram talks about how they wanted him dead 10 years ago over a sinister instrumental. The closer “Roll the Credits” by al.divino talks about how listeners already know what the deal is over a cinematic beat whereas the bonus cut “Winter’s Theme in DM” is an instrumental piece that you can just sit back & smoke a bowl to.

As a whole, this album is solid & I would absolutely recommend it if anyone loves Muggs as I do. He could’ve added a few more joints & stretch it out longer than just 25 minutes, but his production is still very much top notch all these decades later & the guest MCs he brings on board come correct for the most part.

Score: 3.5/5

Soul Assassins – “Dia del Asesinato” review

The Soul Assassins are a legendary collective founded by one of the most underrated producers in hip hop history: DJ Muggs. They dropped their iconic debut album Chapter I in 1997 & they followed it up in 2000 with the equally solid II. However, they collectively haven’t dropped that much material since then with this being their 4th full-length album & their first since Intermission in 2009.

After the “Santa Muerte” intro, the first song “Day of the Dead by Kool G Rap sees the Genius of Rap getting murderous over a perfectly suiting instrumental. The next track “Assassination Day” by G Rap & MF DOOM sees the 2 lyrical titans getting confrontational over a haunting instrumental while the track “Yacht Party” by Raekwon of course vividly gets mafioso over a luxurious instrumental. The song “Black Snow Beach” by Rae & Meyhem Lauren brags about how better they are than you over some strings while the next 2 songs are solely performed by Mach-Hommy. The first one “Blue Horseshoes” has a decent instrumental, but Mach sounds like he phoned it in.

The other one “Contagion Theory” has a somewhat jazzy instrumental that’s actually beautiful, but it doesn’t sound fully written to me. Things pick up on “Wally Face”, where Hus Kingpin provides some vivid storytelling over a settle beat with an alluring vocal sample for the hook. The song “Duck Sauce” by Eto talks about how this ain’t a game over a boom bap beat with an electric guitar while the track “Niggas is Pussy” by Meyhem Lauren speaks for itself over a heavy guitar. And before things finish with the outro, the final song “Death Wish” by Freddie Gibbs & DOOM displays the 2 spitting battle bars over an eerie beat.

I’ve been wondering when or if the Soul Assassins were ever gonna drop an album again & they came back pretty triumphantly. The performers are outstanding for the most part as is DJ Muggs’ production & the concept about using hip hop against corruption is very well thought out

Score: 4/5