Over the past two decades hip-hop music has taken the world by storm. From the old school days when the DJ was a rock-star and the MC was his hype man, to the era of big name “rappers”, and now back to the DJ / Producer being the main man. One person who has withstood all these years as a world-class DJ and “super” producer is DJ MUGGS. Lawrence, “Muggs”, Muggerud was born in January, 1968, and grew up in Queens, NY, before moving to Los Angeles in 1984. DJ MUGGS, known through-out the world as the DJ & producer for CYPRESS HILL has a long track record as not only a champion DJ but as someone who has produced music that has sold over 20 million units! He is also one of the few DJ’s to transcend several eras and styles and still maintain a very successful and relevant career. This path was a long-time in the making.
In 1984 when Muggs moved across the country from NY to LA, he also began to start deejaying. In 1985 he got his first set of turntables and the path to stardom was in effect. Only a year later he met the people who would eventually form the group CYPRESS HILL, one of the most influential and ground-breaking groups of all-time. It was 1986, the beginning of the golden era of hip-hop when Muggs met Sen Dog and B-Real, part of a group called DVX. At this time Muggs was pursuing his DJ career and honing his skills that he would soon showcase in local and national DJ battles like the DMC competition, while also realizing he wanted to produce as well. At this point his DJ talent was getting him recognized, especially after winning the West Coast DMC competition in 1989. However, he truly wanted to prove to the world that he could make better beats than most other producers. He left on tour with a group called 7A3 and was opening for huge groups at the time like, Salt N Pepa and Kid N Play. However, Muggs felt he had taken his DJ career as far as he could and knew producing was where he had to leave his mark. Previously he did produce a few songs, although he might not have received the proper credits. Muggs produced a track called “River Cubanos” for Mellow Man Ace, another friend and member of DVX, and he also produced “Mad Mad World” on the certified gold COLORS soundtrack. Muggs already produced a gold record in 1988! So after, his touring stint with 7A3, Muggs returned to form the group CYPRESS HILL along with Sen Dog and B-Real. They called themselves CYPRESS HILL because CYPRESS was the street they lived on and they lived up the HILL on the higher part of the street.
Soon after working on some low-budget demos, CYPRESS HILL was signed to a record deal in 1990. Little did they know CYPRESS HILL would go on to have several multi-platinum and gold albums. DJ MUGGS produced all of the music, and their first self-titled album, CYPRESS HILL, in 1991, went on to sell over 4 million copies!!! This album also produced two #1 rap singles, “How I Could Just Kill A Man”, which was a b-side, and “Phunky Feel One.” This was a tremendous feat, especially at that time. CYPRESS HILL, known for their pro-marijuana music, did not disappoint their record label or their fans, when in 1993 they dropped their second album, “Black Sunday” which was also produced by DJ MUGGS. This album which sold over 4 million copies as well, was followed by the 2 times platinum album “Temple of Boom” in 1995, and the 3 times platinum album, “Skull & Bones” in 2000. There was also tons of popular singles like the unforgettable “Latin Lingo”, “Hand on the Pump”, the # 1 “Insane in the Membrain”, “When the Shit Goes Down”, “ I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like That”, “Illusions”, and the more recent “Rap/Rock Superstar.” Besides these remarkably successful albums and singles, all produced by the one and only DJ MUGGS, there were other albums like “Stoned Raiders”, “Til Death Do Us Part”, and “Greatest Hits from the Bong”, that also went gold or platinum. Obviously, DJ MUGGS, became one of the most sort after producers in the game, and in between an extensive touring schedule that kept him on the road for over a decade, he found the time to produce a few soundtrack hits and other groups. Perhaps one of the most recognizable songs and club/bar anthems of all-time, HOUSE OF PAIN’s “Jump Around” single was also produced by Muggs. This single, which is still in every DJ’s playlist, went on to sell over 2 million copies, along with the album that also had tons of music produced by Muggs. DJ MUGGS has produced and remixed music for FunkDoobiest, House of Pain, Krs-one, Ice Cube, Everlast, Eminem, MC Eiht, Roni Size, The Beastie Boys and more. He even produced “The Puppet Master” with Dr. Dre in 1997. His music has been on movie soundtracks such as “Training Day” in 2001, “Blade 2”, “Friday” in 1995, “The Cable Guy” in 1996, “Juice”, and the previous mentioned “Colors” soundtrack in 1988. The Muggs produced Cypress Hills hit, “Insane in the Membrain” was also featured on an episode of The SIMPSONS. With a track record almost unmatched by any producer of his time, one might ask what set Muggs apart and what helped form his sound that made him such a top notch producer.
While growing up, deejaying, and through-out the years, Muggs was heavily influenced by many east coast groups like Boogie Down Production, Public Enemy, Ultramagnetic Mcees, and Tribe Called Quest. He listened to a lot of funk music and rock music as well. This was very apparent in his own musical productions and later on in his career he helped pioneer the “rap/rock” movement and very popular “mash-up” scene in which deejays mix different genres of music with hip-hop. Muggs is known for his dusty sound, eerie beats, soul-driven beats, rock samples, and hard hitting drums and bass. His tracks are not over-produced like many of today’s producers and can be said to be minimal but with just the right amount of what is needed. This style was in direct contrast to many of the other popular west-coast producers who had a more laid back funk and melodic sound. This was also a large part of why Muggs has stood out from his west-coast counterparts. His willingness to go outside the box and sample classic rock records was brilliant. Muggs explains it like this; “I could fuck with all kinds of music. I like to tap into that. I take a rock song and flip it into a hip-hop song or hip-hop song into a rock mix. I don’t like doing the same shit that’s been done. I like trying to invent new styles of music, invent a whole new genre.” This rebel attitude was also quite apparent in his live shows, as proven on NBC’s Saturday Night Live when Muggs lit up a “joint” on live television and was “banned for life” from NBC. This only broadened his fan base and made CYPRESS HILL even bigger than life. Staying true to his belief in being different and conquering new ground, in 2002, after signing with new management and new lawyers, and becoming a “dad” in 2001, Muggs began work on his “DUST” LP.
He dropped the “DUST” LP in 2003 which was very different from most of his past productions. Soon after Muggs began his “MASH-UP” radio show, being live on K-Roq FM in NY and LA on major radio and now being broadcast live on Sirius Satellite Radio around the planet. Muggs has been a huge influence on the “mash-up”movement and is well known for his collection of rock & rap mixes. His rock dj sets are truly incredible. As if that wasn’t enough, he started his own record label in 2003, Angeles Records, and has been producing projects of his own label now. An instant classic amongst real hip-hop fans around the world, “The Grandmasters” album with Muggs & GZA from Wu-Tang was one of the first major projects he has created for his own label. Once again, Muggs came with the hard beats his loyal fans appreciate and also a video based on a human chess game which played off the concept of the album title. Recently Muggs has been collaborating with Sick Jacken, Self Scientifik, and GZA once again. Another thing Muggs is very well known for, is for being one of the main members of the Soul Assassins. Going back to the early 90’s, the Soul Assassins was a group of musicians and graphic artists consisting of Cypress Hill, Everlast, Fredwreck, GZA, Sick Jacken, Cynic, Alchemist, Cartoon and Estevan. Cartoon is a well known LA-based graffiti artist and tattoo artist that has done several tattoos for tons of famous people. The Soul Assassins have dropped two albums since forming in the early 90’s, both of which was mainly produced by DJ Muggs. These two albums featured music by Krs-one, Dr. Dre, Goodie Mob, Mobb Deep, GZA, RZA, Xzibit, YClef, Kool G Rap, Kurupt, Dilated Peoples and more. It is rumored that there will be another Soul Assassins album coming in 2008, dropping on Muggs’ record label, Anegeles Records. And, of course, to add to their already tremendous legacy of hot albums and singles, Muggs is currently hard-at-work producing a new album for CYPRESS HILL that should be released in 2009.
Staying busy as always, Dj Muggs has nothing left to prove, and is now about to showcase his dj skills again by touring around the world and playing his eclectic, one-of-a-kind dj sets with a heavy rock & mash-up background. Muggs could play a dj set of only music he has produced and it would be over 2 hours of recognizable hit record after hit record! When Dj Muggs rolls into your town to spin, it is an event you do not want to miss by any means. Look out for the legendary producer & DJ, Destroying turntables in a club or concert near you in 2012 and beyond….
Muggs Plans on releasing a New Album called “Bass For Your Face” which he describes as a West Coast “Dubstep” Album. Although he says the album will feature an extensive Guest List, thus far the only Guest named is London Grime MC P-Money