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Baker's Dozen

Wild Imaginings: DJ Muggs Of Cypress Hill's Favourite LPs
Elizabeth Aubrey , November 7th, 2018 08:40

DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill guides Elizabeth Aubrey through 13 inspirational records, from Wu-Tang Clan to Mobb Deep, Led Zeppelin, Public Enemy... and Cypress Hill themselves


Wu Tang Clan – Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers)
A friend of mine played me the Wu Tang album way before it came out. I was so entrenched and deep into this music shit by then that a lot of music was shared through people I knew and I would subsequently hear a lot of projects in their demo phase. I also got a lot of stuff from attending the underground mix shows: this was one such record. The Friday night mix shows were so special back in the day, especially in breaking new music – and what a record this was to break.

It took me multiple listens to realise this was so radically different from anything I'd ever heard previously. Soon enough, I was like 'Yo, this shit is amazing.' Hearing nine different MCs with totally different styles meant that it took a little time for the Wu Tang to settle in: I admit I didn't get it the first time I heard it, but once the record came out and I started hearing it more and more, I knew this was something very special indeed.

I had my favourite MCs in the group like everyone did, but as I started to get to know them more and more, I realised this was a group where at least six or seven of the nine MCs could just go off and be platinum selling artists in their own right. How many groups or collectives can you say that of? It wasn't even like a supergroup or something put together specially – these guys just came from the same sort of space as us and they were doing this incredible shit.

RZA's production was phenomenal and I admired it so much, especially the concept of the slang, the Kung Fu…it was ridiculous. All the other philosophies behind it too were so special. For me, there was always something for everybody in that band because you have nine entirely different personalities in there and you're going to find something to like out of those nine motherfuckers [laughs]. Everybody had their favourites, me included. The first time I heard it, RZA and GZA were my favourites then as time went on, I liked Raekwon and Ghostface Killah.

I saw them a couple of times live, like very early on before they really blew. Their gigs were just pure raw energy and the stage was chaotic and hectic because there's nine people on there with mics doing their own thing. They didn't have the most organised shows but there was this energy that they brought – this wild, fucking crazy ball of energy that they always delivered on the stage. You never really did know what was going to happen next and that was always exciting

Ol Dirty Bastard was also one of the most unique characters ever in music. I always look for uniqueness and authenticity in an artist and he just had it in abundance for me. I heard him and thought, 'He's one of a one'. His music had a message of like, 'don't get stuck, free yourself'. It was a powerful message.

I don't know if they can ever do something like this again or if something this special will ever exist once more: they had so much powerful energy. It's something very hard to hold together when everyone is going in a bunch of different directions, continually shifting. Yet they did it in that space and in that time: I doubt you can repeat that.