|© The Wu-Tang Corp.- 2005-09-03
ON SUNDAY (AUGUST 21), DJ MUGGS GAVE SELECTED MEDIA THE FIRST PREVIEW OF HIS UPCOMING ALBUM ENTITLED DJ MUGGS VS. GZA: GRANDMASTERS, A COLLABORATIVE ALBUM BETWEEN THE CYPRESS HILL'S MUGGS AND WU-TANG'S GZA
As far as the title and theme of the project, it's a reference to chess, a favorite pastime of the Genius.
"Whenever I work with an emcee," DJ Muggs told BallerStatus.net. "I try to tap into their personality, what they're about as a human being and bring that out more." However, the title pertains to hip-hop as well. "The highest level of the chess masters is the Grandmaster. The highest level of the DJ or the emcee is the Grandmaster -- it's synonymous with both," Muggs explained.
Grandmasters showcases Gza's power wit the pen, as he writes intricate rhymes on a variety of topics from the past and present. One track entitled "All In Together Now," which was the title of Gza's first rap crew, pays tribute to the late, great ODB. Another track pays tribute to hip-hop as Gza sings on the hook: "This is hip-hop/emcees get busy/it's not pop/You frontin', you get dropped/ You listenin' to slanged out goodies/ Timberlands and hoodies/ for the rhymin' that came from the streets."
While acknowledging the past, Gza also keeps the album fresh and up-to-date. For example, on one innovative track, Gza uses all the names of the NFL teams to describe a female.
Aside from Gza's lyrical skills, Muggs' power of production shines as well, as he creates hard hitting, haunting beats reminiscent of the early Wu-Tang days. Although, it's hard to overlook Muggs' production, the DJ/producer feels the album is more about the lyrics rather than his beats.
"I was just tryin' to lay a background for his lyrics," Muggs told BallerStatus.net. "You know, when you hear a great lyricist like Billy Holiday or Sade, it's about the words. So, I just tried to create a certain vibe for the words."
Despite Muggs' modest attitude, his beats play a key role in the success of this album. Gza acknowledges this in a lyric, stating that, "The fact that the beat came from Muggs was a hell of a gift."
The two originally worked together in '97 on Muggs Presents: The Soul Assassins Ch. 1, and in '99 people began to push for them to work on a joint project. However, there was no home for the project until Muggs, along with DJ Khalil and Chace Infinite of Self Scientific, created Angeles Records. Once securing their label situation, DJ Muggs approached Gza about making the anticipated album. Gza then flew out to Los Angeles, and 8 days later the album was complete.
In addition to the Gza joint project, Muggs is continuing to work on upcoming projects from his newly founded Angeles Records imprint (see "DJ Muggs And Duo Self-Scientific Ink Deal To Form New Label") with Fontana Distribution, the independent distribution division of Universal Music Group (UMG).
He is also creating a soundtrack score for "Ride," a film about a snowboarding legend, as well as hosting his own Mash Up Radio show on Sirius Satellite.
DJ Muggs vs. Gza: Grandmasters is slated to drop October 25 on Angeles Records.