MTV The Wrap Up: DJ Muggs [Interview]

DJ Muggs makes up one fourth of Cypress Hill – the groundbreaking Latino quartet and one of raps most successful collectives hailing from America’s West Coast. He is a true hip-hop legend and visionary, known for mixing different sounds to create innovative music – and his latest album ‘Bass For Your Face’ is no different. The Wrap Up’s Shireen Fenner talks to him about mixing the British born dubstep sound with hip-hop whilst featuring a UK grime legend and some exciting US rappers…

“Everyone was trying to copy Dr Dre and that West Coast sound. We pretty much did the opposite of that and did our own thing. You didn’t have to copy him to make a ‘West Coast’ sound – make your own style and sound! You can still be from the West Coast but stop following suit; bring something fresh to the table.

“I’ve been a fan of electronic music since day one. I started off playing techno in Detroit… back then it was all gangsters; the crowds were all pretty much Latino and black all the gang bangers were pop locking to it. Now I DJ a lot, and I always look for new music to put in my sets.  I play a lot of electronic festivals around the world; I wanted to make more music to play in my sets so I made this record [‘Bass For Your Face’].

“I wanted to make it with an underground hip-hop spirit. Bring some of these hip-hop kids, open their ears and give them a different sound. A lot of rock kids back in the day didn’t like hip-hop but they liked Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, they liked Run DMC… I wanted to open their minds to different sounds.

“I wanted to get more underground MC’s like Roc Marciano. The song I did with Dizzee [Rascal] – I wanted it to sound like an 80’s West Coast hip-hop record. I have a friend called Bun B who is friends with Dizzee, and Dizzee was in LA and he said ‘I want you to get in the studio’. So he came through and we recorded about four songs; Dizzee asked me what I was working on so I played him a record aBun Bnd he said ‘I want to get on there’. I said ‘word, get on it,’ so he jumped on it.

Danny Brown is another MC on the album and one of my favourite’s out here right now. I didn’t want a full song, just some words from him. Chuck D’s been a favourite of mine for years; that song has more of a rock edge to it, so I wanted him on that and we worked on it together.

“I have been coming to the UK since the 90’s, and I’ve spent months out there at a time. I used to go see Goldie and the Metalheadz all the time; I did some remixes for them. From the jungle days to drum and bass, 2 step days, garage days… for all that stuff, I’ve been over there. Last time I was there I went to a couple of grime shows – I love the energy. I was out there with the guys from No Hats No Hoods.

“When I first started hearing dubstep in about 2007, I was like ‘what is this?’ – it worked with hip-hop. What I noticed about dubstep was hip-hop heads liked it. A lot of them didn’t like jungle and drum & bass because of the tempos. They liked this because it reminded them of early electronic music… The culture is changing out here [in LA] too. A lot of hip-hop kids couldn’t mess with it because it was real funny – everyone had glow sticks and vaporizers over their mouths. Finally, there is a type of electronic music that the hip-hop and rock kids can get into, and not only the dance crowd.

“What made me take notice of dubstep were the early Rusko records, the early Benga and Skream records and all those early Loefah records. Loefah had me when I first heard him – I was like ‘what the f**k is that?’ Loefah’s s**t was banging. I would love to work with anyone of them guys. Anything that inspires me to make more music and try new sounds and styles – that’s what it’s all about.”

*Published 22nd May 2013

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