DJ Muggs is Cypress Hill‘s DJ and producer. He also produced tracks for Funkdoobiest, House of Pain, Dizzee Rascal, U2, Depeche Mode, Die Antwoord and more. He is the leader of LA art collective Soul Assassins.
Life and career
Muggs was born in Queens, New York of Italian descent, but was adopted into a Norwegian family. He moved to Los Angeles at age fourteen, and got his start DJ’ing for hip hop group The 7A3, who put out one album in 1988 before disbanding.
Cypress Hill (1988–2004)
After linking up with B-Real and Sen Dog to form the group Cypress Hill, he went on to produce seven studio albums with the group from 1991 to 2004. Of the seven, four reached platinum status, and three gold. Meanwhile, he scored hits on the side with Ice Cube‘s “Check Yo Self” and House of Pain‘s “Jump Around.” During Cypress Hill’s early years, DJ Muggs met The Alchemist and his Dilated Peoples brethren on tour, deciding to take the young producer under his wing, providing a jump-start for his career.
In 1997, Muggs released an album under the name Soul Assassins. The album, Soul Assassins I, reached #86 on the Billboard 200 and earned critical praise. Produced by Muggs, it featured Dr. Dre, B-Real, LA Tha Darkman, Mobb Deep, RZA, GZA, Goodie Mob, KRS-One and Wyclef Jean. In 2000 he returned to the Soul Assassins with Soul Assassins II, which garnered similarly positive reviews. He also put out the record Dust, an atmosphere-heavy trip hop affair with Greg Dulli, Amy Trujillo and Everlast on vocals. After the 2004 album Til Death Do Us Part, which reached #23 on the Billboard 200, Cypress Hill went on a hiatus from recording, enabling its members to focus more on their side projects.
Further solo projects and return of Cypress Hill (2005–2010)
In 2005, DJ Muggs teamed up with Wu-Tang Clan‘s GZA for the album Grandmasters, the first project released on his label Angeles Records. Patterned after a chess game, it received positive reviews; Muggs also announced a Soul Assassins III album, produced jointly by himself and Alchemist, reportedly to be preceded by a record called Cloak & Dagger, also featuring Alchemist. Instead, Muggs produced an album for Psycho Realm member Sick Jacken, Legend of the Mask and the Assassin two years later, in 2007. In 2008, Muggs announced that his album with California rapper Planet Asia would be the third Soul Assassins album, but the two released Pain Language later that year instead as a collaboration.
Before the release of his solo album Smoke N Mirrors in 2009, B-Real reported that Cypress Hill has been working on an album for roughly a year. Currently in the mixing phase, Muggs has produced half of the album’s material so far, going to DJ Premier, Pete Rock and Mike Shinoda for the rest. In 2009, Muggs entered the Gumball 3000 cross-country race, and on June 23, 2009, Soul Assassins: Intermission was released, featuring RZA, Prodigy, Evidence, The Alchemist and Bun B. The first single for the album was “Gangsta Shit,” by Bun B and M1 of Dead Prez. Muggs later clarified its status as a preview before the release of Soul Assassins III, the next full-fledged installment of his Soul Assassins series. Muggs plans next on recording his 5th V.S. album with group member B-Real. & in 2013 he confirmed a VS album with Meyhem Lauren as well.