The Soul Assassin DJ Muggs is simply one of the greatest hiphop producers of all time – and he’s still at it. Active since the late 80’s with legendary Cali crew Cypress Hill, Muggs has had a fascinating career. From those classics to even working with Dr Dre, he eventually transitioned and became one of the most prolific beatsmiths of the New York underground – Markedly beginning with collab albums with Ill Bill, Planet Asia (Cali native, but diverse in sound), and the phenomenal Grandmasters by GZA. Even today, DJ Muggs is one of the most sought after producers in the scene – having worked with Roc Marciano, Eto, Mach Hommy, and more in recent years. 2021 was typically busy and strong for Muggs, so here we will go over some of his best work from the period.
Flee Lord – Rammellzee
In a tribute to the late great street artist Rammellzee, DJ Muggs links with the always busy Flee Lord for this fun little project. While Flee follows his strong formula and delivers some shit talk in his signature shout, Muggs branches out slightly. The beats on here tend to be a bit more lush and summery than his typically Hellish style. There are several standout tracks on here such as “Paying Homage CNN” and the luxurious “Wallabee’s and Gucci Loafers”, featuring Ghostface Killah and Roc Marciano with a triplet flow.
Rome Streetz – Death & the Magician
Featured on our 2021 album of the year lists, Death and the Magician is a phenomenal collab with one of New York’s meanest young spitters. Muggs laces him with dark chords and exotic guitars which maintain his grimy sound. For more information, check out our Rome Streetz 2021 recap playlist!
This is an instrumental album which sees Muggs taking his signature sound and turning it up to eleven. Without the burden of an MC to collaborate with, he crafts a suffocatingly dark beat tape. With heavier basslines than you might usually hear from him, there are also the typical guitar chords and menacing keys, making for a truly evil soundscape. This is one of the absolute best instrumental albums of 2021.
Crimeapple – Cartagena
While not quite stacking up to their phenomenal 2019 outing Medallo, this project is a very enjoyable listen from the NY revival scene. Crime delivers his punchlines and one-of-a kind bilingual shit talk over a nice variety of simple beats which give his bars room to breathe. The two are a great match – Crimeapple fits over anything Muggs throws at him, whether it be electric guitar riffs or a simple piano loop without drums. There is also an infectious feature from Stove God Cook$ on “Mermaids” – someone who could benefit from a Muggs placement on his next album perhaps.
More DJ Muggs 2021 Releases:
Winter 2: A compilation album with Muggs’ usual grimy sound and features from many of the scene’s essential names.
Yelawolf – Mile Zero: This unexpected combination is actually a really fun, interesting listen. There is a standout posse cut featuring Del tha Funkee Homosapien and DJ Paul.
Hologram – American Cheese: Hologram is definitely an acquired taste, but if you can get with his odd delivery there are some gems on here and a cool aesthetic. Muggs definitely gets weirder than usual to match Hologram’s energy.