Sat. Nov. 9 & Sun. Nov. 10, 12-6PM each day.
Rappcats, 5636 York Blvd, Los Angeles CA
Thousands of records from the collection of the Cypress Hill/Soul Assassins producer. Holy grails and classics. All genres. Posters and paper goods. The inaugural event of what will be a three part series. Muggs will be in attendance on Saturday. Rappcats will transform into a gallery showcasing over 30 years of West Coast hip hop history.
DJ MUGGS RECORD COLLECTION, assembled from his earliest days in LA and through his world travels with Cypress Hill, is a landmark offering at Rappcats. While we are not selling the entirety of Muggs collection – many pieces are destined for a university archive – we are offering quite a lot of it. From common records – all genres – that Muggs considered as sample sources, his DJ records, and the occasional holy grail, such as Phil Ranelin’s Spiritual Jazz masterpiece “Vibes From The Tribe,” annotated by Muggs on the label as to his preferred track to sample, Muggs collection offers something for any collector. Scroll down for images.
The collection is so vast that we plan on doing at least three events over the coming year. This is the first. We will also offer select posters and ephemera from the 90s until the present day and out of print vinyl rarities on Muggs’ Soul Assassins label.
Rappcats’ space will be transformed into a gallery to display West Coast producer’s collected goods – from the flyers handed out at the early gigs he promoted, to the records he marked and used in his club dates and DMC DJ battles, to his notes and his schedules, to his machines and to the music he used to create his landmark albums, and the stages within. This will color the milieu in which he and his compatriots existed, offering private snapshots that document a culture that, though now wildly influential, has beginnings that are just barely understood.
Lawrence “DJ Muggs” Muggerud was born in Queens, New York on January 28, 1968, and relocated to Los Angeles with his mother in 1984 where he began his career in music. Muggs instinctively – like a hip-hop reared New Yorker – set out on foot and via public transportation to explored the city’s party and DJ culture, often finding himself stranded, miles from home in the middle of the night. Muggs lived in Bell Gardens, a small, almost exclusively Hispanic city neighboring between East Los Angeles and Compton.
By age seventeen he had learned to DJ and was working parties and clubs, and. with his increasing skills. began winning regional competitions in the DMC DJ battles, becoming West Coast champion in 1989. In 1987, Muggs became the DJ of the group 7A3. Founded with two other ex-New Yorkers, they signed to Geffen Records shortly after releasing their first single on Los Angeles rap indie Macola, in early 1988. At around the same time, Muggs began working with the rappers B-Real and Sen Dog who also lived in South Gate and hung out on Cypress Avenue. They were all denizens of the street culture that was about to produce a new hip-hop sound in Los Angeles. NWA was the most prominent voice of this culture, but the group was as likely to produce a feel good single like “Express Yourself” as it was to issue a scathing call to arms like “Fuck The Police.” Muggs and his compatriots, producing hip-hop events while hustling on South Gate’s street corners, reacted more to the latter, and those releases by harder-edged Angeleno rappers.
While Los Angeles producers had largely preferred an electro or drum machine and keyboard-led sound, Muggs earliest productions were based around the principles of the East Coast sample progenitors, from the Bomb Squad to Paul C, from Jazzy J to EPMD. His sound came from combination of inherent musical acumen – though he never studied music, the rate at which he learned to DJ and produce records quickly left behind all his neighborhood friends – a minimalist approach guided by pragmatism, and a flair for the surreal. In contrast to the up-tempo, dance-oriented beats of early Angelino hip-hop, Muggs’ earliest work was dark and meditative, which, paired with the contrasting vocal performances offered by B-Real and Sen Dog, made for a unique Los Angeles sound. It was an emergent thing, dust-covered from its archival sources, that would fall in line with the Beastie Boys’ seminal, Dust Brothers-produced, Paul’s Boutique.
Muggs’ record collection at the time was meager, and was supplemented by recordings brought to him by collector friends, like the late Skatemaster Tate, one of Los Angeles’s earliest hip-hop inspired crate-diggers. But again, these limitations were turned into strengths. Muggs often grabbed from the same source material as other producers, but the result was uniquely his. A sample like Lowell Fulsom’s blues-funk “Tramp” – at full speed the basis of up-tempo songs by EPMD and De La Soul – was pitched down and combined with a warbling drone that could have been a tea-kettle as easily as it could have been a violin to become the Muggs beat that formed the basis of Cypress Hill’s breakout single, “How I Could Just Kill A Man.”
Cypress Hill’s self-titled debut, issued on Joe Nicolo’s Ruff House Records in the summer of 1991, demonstrated definitively that there was a new path for West Coast rap music: it combined the visceral street reportage of NWA with the bombast of the Bomb Squad – the production team behind Public Enemy’s Wall Of Sound – and cloaked it all in a psychedelic, low-fi, haze. Even West Coast producers as established as Dr. Dre took note, using Cypress Hill’s sonic palette to produce “Deep Cover,” the world’s introduction to rapper Snoop Doggy Dog. In the end, this new West Coast sound was adopted by the East Coast, as Cypress Hill released their album in New York and recording their first videos there.
By the release of their third album, Temples of Boom, Cypress Hill’s sound was fully established and was celebrated world-wide as a particularly Angelo invention. House of Pain had issued two successful albums, Muggs began to work with a host of collaborators from all over the United States, and multi-platinum success followed. In 1997 he released his Soul Assassins album, a novel concept at the time – a mix-tape – featuring some of the most respected rappers from New York, California, and Atlanta, this during a time when the coastal battle for hip-hop supremacy was leading the actual cross-coastal violence and the deaths of some of rap’s biggest figures. By this time the sound that Muggs was the architect of had become a part of hip-hop’s DNA, and a new generation of his musical offspring, producers like the Alchemist and Madlib, whose 2004 collaborative album with MF DOOM, Madvillainy, made obvious that the return-to-form hip-hop production that would find its peak in the work of J Dilla and Kanye West owed very much indeed to Muggs and his innovations.