February 22, 2007

DJ Muggs - Soul Assassins Chapter 1 (March 4, 1997)


Here's another one out of left field. When I was younger, before the internet made it impossible for new albums to ever be considered as "eagerly anticipated", I used to buy a lot of compact discs after having heard only a single song, or after reading about it in The Source. The day an album hit store shelves was once an event; today everyone just wonders when the hell the new Clipse album is going to get ripped. I miss going to the stores every Tuesday to check out the new releases and making selections by having faith in the artists involved, mainly because that was all there was to work with back then.

The first DJ Muggs compilation album, Soul Assassins Chapter 1, was one of my better blind choices. Sure, Muggs may have been famous for being a part of Cypress Hill (and for producing House of Pain's "Jump Around"), but he was eager to prove his production skills went beyond making beats for a couple of stoners. So he basically gathered a larger bunch of stoners to help him record this project.

It's refreshing to read "All Songs Produced, Arranged, and Composed By Muggs" on the back of the album booklet, especially since most rap albums these days feel (and sound) as if they were made by fucking committee.

1. THE TIME HAS COME
Even Muggs isn't immune to the dreaded "hip hop album intro" curse.

2. PUPPET MASTER (DR. DRE and B-REAL)
The worst Dr. Dre beat that he never created. For a Muggs beat, though, this wasn't half bad. B-Real's inclusion is kinda sketchy, though.

3. DECISIONS, DECISIONS (GOODIE MOB)
A pre-Gnarls Cee-Lo steals the entire album with one verse, it's that good.

4. THIRD WORLD (RZA and GZA/GENIUS)
The worst RZA beat that he never created. For a Muggs beat, though...

5. BATTLE OF 2001 (CYPRESS HILL)
C'mon, there's no way that Cypress Hill wouldn't be included on Soul Assassins Chapter 1

6. DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS (LA THE DARKMAN)
If someone can explain how a Wu-affiliate can debut on a non-Wu album, I would greatly appreciate it. Prizes may be involved.

7. HEAVY WEIGHTS (MC EIHT)
This West Coast O.G. (who I was never really a fan of) sounds pretty decent over a sleep-inducing beat.

8. MOVE AHEAD (KRS-ONE)
One of the best who ever did it. Emcees act like they don't know.

9. IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU (MOBB DEEP)
From the Nicolas Cage movie of the same name.

10. LIFE IS TRAGIC (INFAMOUS MOBB)
From the Nicolas Cage movie of the same name.

11. NEW YORK UNDERCOVER (CALL O' DA WILD)
The beat is pretty hype. As to who Call O' Da Wild are, and whatever happened to them, that's a story for another blogger to provide.

12. JOHN 3:16 (WYCLEF)
Cypress Hill and the Fugees had that "Boom Biddy Bye Bye" remix off of the Unreleased and Revamped EP, so this combo isn't really as shocking as it reads.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I remember buying Soul Assassins Chapter 1 solely off of the radio spins of "Puppet Master" (which, admittedly, isn't that great of a track). Cee-Lo's verse on "Decisions, Decisions" blew my mind when I first heard it, though, and this was before he got the Hip Hop Quotable in The Source. All in all, this was a good first "solo" effort for DJ Muggs, and it would eventually pave the way for the GZA collaboration album Grandmasters, and, unfortunately, his own solo electronica album Dust (which you should only listen at your own risk).

BUY OR BURN?  You should definitely buy this one, especially since you can probably find it pretty cheap online.

BEST TRACKS: "Decisions, Decisions"; "Third World"; "Move Ahead"

-Max


6 comments:

  1. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessFebruary 20, 2008

    I recently revisited this album while gathering material for a non-album, Murda Muzik or earlier, Mobb Deep compilation. Mobb Deep used to be the shit, remember that?

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  2. Hey Max, are you this PhineasPoet guy, or did he steal your review?

    http://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/muggs/muggs_presents_the_soul_assassins__chapter_1/

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  3. Nope, that's not me. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I'm handling it as we speak.

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  4. AnonymousMay 31, 2012

    hey Max, just in case you don't, you mention in a couple reviews wondering what ever became of Call O' Da Wild...and Barron Ricks who guested on about half of Cypress IV was in this group.
    Sony wouldn't release the Call O' Da Wild album...they didn't no how to market it, no commercial single etc.
    Based on everything I've read over the years it seems like Barron Ricks was a Sen Dog replacement since Sen Dog had quit Cypress Hill at the time for a few years. and a good portion of Cypress Hill IV was recorded without Sen Dog before Sen Dog rejoined the group, which is why I think B-Ricks ended up on so many tracks

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  5. method manJune 27, 2012

    so.. did you like the mobb deep/infamous mobb songs or not?

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  6. Indeed , I made a lot of "Blind choices" to ....I recognize your feelings towards that period !

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