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Features Published: January 22, 2013

Exclusive Interview – DJ Muggs Of Cypress Hill Tells Us About Changes In Hip Hop & Music & More!

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Exclusive Interview – DJ Muggs Of Cypress Hill Tells Us About Changes In Hip Hop & Music & More!

Muggs was born in Queens, New York of Italian and Norwegian descent. Muggs moved to Los Angeles at age twenty. He briefly DJ’d the group 7A3, putting out one album before disbanding. 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.

WWSMAG: DJ Muggs welcome to WWS! How is it like being a veteran man?
DJM: I’m still brand new haha; I’m still learning and I don’t look back, the fact I was going ahead and not looking back has allowed me to work hard and stay more focused than ever!

How do you think the game has changed since you got your start?
The game now changes when new technology comes out. Back then I walked into a studio when I was sixteen, I didn’t know you had to bring your music there with you. There was no accessibility, and no tutorials. Now you have a full working studio on your laptop! I love it now! I would hate being on tour cause you couldn’t work in the studio, now you have everything right at your fingertips!

You are a pioneer, do you think there is anything left undone?
There has to be, but we don’t know what it is yet. The energy is manipulated through my thoughts and actions, and I inspire the next generation. There are certain lulls in careers, but you have to get to the mountain top. I think right now is one of the most exciting times in hip hop. It reminds me of the early 90’s when you had groups like NWA and De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest, all the groups were different, and they all coexisted. Now with Kendrick, ASAP, and Joey Badass, they are all different but they are all coexisting, and there is no beef with each other.

If you could change one thing from your career what would it be?
The career I’m having is fucking amazing, never expected none of this. I expected to sell 100,000 records because that’s what the groups were doing at that time. I just wanted respect from my peers; once I got that everything was gravy. I now get to go out traveling the world and looking for new things to inspire me.

Who are your inspirations?
Early on it was groups like Led Zeppelin, Run DMC, and all the Mally Mall  Productions. Now it’s still like Radiohead, Flying Lotus, it’s also Salvador Dali as a painter, Tarantino for films. I can live ten lives and still watch, listen, and read about all the stuff that can possibly inspire me. For a while I would watch documentaries on Dali for a week straight, read articles on him and look at the art. I try and get into their head spaces. Every one of the greats can still teach you. About five years ago I took two weeks and got into the Beatles, I had never really listened to them before. I watched every documentary, and listened to all of the albums and tried to get into their head space.

When you started did you think hip hop would be this big?
I didn’t expect it to take over every form of media, from every film to every song to every show on TV. Back in the day it was our thing, and we would talk our slang and people wouldn’t understand it. Now you have everyone; from Beverly Hills white kids talking with hip hop slang, to the people on ESPN. I never expected it to have the dominance that it does, its natural for everyone.

Who are you listening to now?
I’m listening to Radiohead, Action Bronson, Rob Marcy, and that new Kendrick has stuck with me. I got to listen to David Bowie’s new album, and I just discovered some new Jimi Hendrix songs, and I’m a big Hendrix fan. One thing I miss that nothing would come out for a month, so I could rock with the album for a month. Now I only have an hour or two, max, in the car to listen to music.

What are the most important parts of becoming a new artist on the scene?
I think it’s really important to appreciate and respect everyone. Try to learn constantly, try to build your relationships. If you’re going to be in the biz for thirty plus years and you want to have a marathon career, you want to want to get to the finish line. There are going to be some hills and valleys. Back when hip hop started getting big, we didn’t realize that there was going to be a whole movement that would last forever, because there were no seventy year old fans back then like there are with rock music. Now we are trying to change the perception, we’re going to have our own Chuck Berry’s, our own Paul McCartney’s, as far as creativity there is nothing that is going to stop. Just remember that you should not listen to music with your eyes and listen with your ears.

What are you working on?
I’m working on a bunch of new projects, in February, there is going to be an EP called Crossing my Heart, and my dude from New York, the Mayhem Lauren project. Thanks!


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