DJ MUGGS TAKES LONDON BY STORM
There are legends and there are immortal underground legends to a hip hop geek: Cypress Hill‘s cult status elevates them over and above the confines of the rap genre with such an unique sound, and universal subject matter, treated so cleverly that it still continues to delight a young audience globally.
Speaking to Muggs before his set, fresh from Copenhagen and en route to Paris via the London, Brixton Jamm, leg of his twelve country European ‘Bass in Your Face’ tour. I immediately quizzed him about his take on Dubstep: “I’ve heard that you’ve turned to Dubstep?” “I LIKE Dubstep!” (Grins) Muggs has been producing and DJ’ing Dubstep for a while now, releasing a bass music album on Soul Assassins in January, and touring Europe with a mash up set in which he features as much Dubstep as his audience will take: “… Yeah I think generally they come because they know me for my hip hop and they want to come see what Muggs is doing then I mix in the Dubstep. “ His debut Dubstep release by himself and Bambu de Pistola featuring Dizzee Rascal was premiered on 8th November on BBC Radio 1 by Zane Lowe, and will feature on the Soul Assassins album out in January entitled ‘Bass for Your Face.’ “‘Bass for your Face’ is Dubstep/bass music – anything with a lot of bass – I bring enough hip hop into it so the fans walk away happy! The stuff that I like with Dubstep is the stuff that I know hip hop kids would like- I still bring my hip hop energy into whatever I do.” The buzz about Muggs’ London date had been rising steadily over the preceding weeks where key London talent from the worlds of Hip Hop and Dubstep were set to go head to head on 9th November at the Brixton Jamm. Due to technical issues he was unable to appear on the premier international platform for Dubstep DJ’s Get Darker TV, however the crew in attendance at Jamm was more than ready for his Dubstep selection, and they weren’t disappointed. The Bass For Your Face tour kicked off with a Heavy D tribute set by DJ Snuff One (an impeccable selection of Heavy D slammers) hosted by MC Honey Brown with live saxophone by Raggs, followed by Sarah Love whose skills on the decks are as hot as her mic skills and fresh dub plate selection. Closely followed by Caxton Press, an emcee collective who smashed the set with their own hard-hitting lyricism and of particular note was their female vocalist who had an unusually sweet singing style. In the second room Enme (whose Hustler EP release on LA label ‘LA Dubstep Nostra’ was the link that catalysed the event) b2b Rod Azlan (Choice FM) were dropping pure dub plates including forthcoming releases on Azlan Ent , Ghost , STN, and Dub Police, their respective camps. They were followed by El-B, a prolific originator of the Dubstep genre and founder of Ghost Recordings, b2b Raggs who between them threw down a glut of dark and evil bass lines from Ghost, Coki, Stinkahbell, Gangoon Dubz, to name but a few. Muggs stepped up and decimated the dance in seconds! I’ve been going to DMC championships and live hip hop events for some time, and I’ve never seen anything like it. The decks were set up in for battle from the start, and they were mercilessly thrashed! Muggs’ set had unrelenting dark energy and cold skills, switching from the darkest hip hop grooves to the nastiest hardest Dubstep instrumentals, to hard-ass rock, to bumpy ska and back to some dancey samba-style 4/4 Dubstep. He was right, the bulk of his set was Dubstep, and despite being more of a mid-range aggy selection to suit the crowd, the message that his sound is evolving very firmly in the direction of Dubstep came through like a sword in a chest. He wrapped up his set switching skillfully between hip hop classics such as Rob Base & Easy E “It Takes Two”, Run DMC “Walk This Way”, Cypress Hill “Insane in the Membrane” and brand new Dubstep including his new collaboration with Dizzee Rascal, and Itchy Robot’s remix of “Rock star”. The crowd at the Brixton Jamm was more than into it – they were overjoyed… Dubstep headliners DJ Chef and Cotti represented Cotti’s Sumting New collective hosted by MC Crazy D and Breeze Face, stepped up after Muggs to bring an authentic taste of London Dubstep to the battle. Chef is a key Dubstep pioneer regaled for his mixing skills, and is king of the dub plate dropping exclusives from start to finish including a selection of forthcoming releases from his label Sub Freq. Cotti threw down a selection of his own reggae, grime and dub-influenced Dubstep from his label STN to complement the closing set beautifully. The night was undoubtedly a different flavour blending two genres that seem to be naturally coming together where they both have strong elements of sub bass, tearing bass lines, hard beats, MC’s, street culture and sound systems. Muggs has been working alongside Itchy Robot, 6Blocc and a host of other Dubstep artists getting his new sounds together: “I do albums for different reasons, but I make sure I do a hip hop album every year and a half – I been doing a lot of underground records lately, and when I do those I use different MC’s and introduce myself to a whole new fan base so there are kids that are sixteen years old who don’t have a clue about the impact I made when I came out with my first record, so it’s cool.” Muggs has a healthy attitude to his new musical path and experimenting with Dubstep: “So it’s about a sound, it’s more about the kind of energy I’m bringing. Dubstep is huge in the US – the bass music scene is massive it’s getting bigger than rock, getting bigger than hip hop… For now it’s all about collaborations – I’d love to collaborate with more Dubstep artists – I like simplicity in music – that’s why I like James Brown – you got a groove a break a groove a break – I like songs I like putting vocals on things – things that will stand the test of time are gonna have melodies on them – things that are familiar.” So watch this space, as well as his usual hip hop output of an album every year and a half, we can now expect to hear cult classic “Insane in the Membrane” getting the Dubstep treatment by Muggs and his associates, alongside countless other Dubstep creations. Many thanks and much respect going out to DJ Muggs and his crew for the interview, and to Brixton Jamm and Blitz UK for organising the event.
WORDS SADIE KIERNAN
SickSideSS Note: What do you all think about dubstep and DJ Muggs doing it? I know that DJ’s are supposed to evolve and whatnot but DJ Muggs will be a living legend in my eyes only because of his hip-hop works. Maybe some new generation won’t even know for him hip-hop but only for dubstep (which is kinda sad). To be perfectly honest, I both love and hate dubstep. I don’t mind listening to it in a club, actually I enjoy it but can never play that kind of music at home. It just makes me nervous.