On Soul Assassins: Dia del Asesinato, Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs has returned with an album of dark and powerful, break-your-neck beats. Like his other Soul Assassins projects, the primary motive here is showcasing various rappers, but this sounds more like a focused album than a compilation.
Muggs embodies Los Angeles, but he was born in Queens, and most of the features here (MF DOOM, Raekwon, Kool G Rap, Mayhem Lauren) are NYC through and through. It’s an enjoyable revival of gritty ‘Cuban Linx’-era mafioso rap and the MCs seem to relish the opportunity to rip into these tracks. Freddie Gibbs is also in top form (with a .38 next to his lunchables) on “Death Wish” and Newark’s Mach Hommy is a bright spot with his unorthodox talk-rapping on “Contagion Theory.”
Muggs doesn’t get enough credit for having amassed one of the greatest record collections of all time and he draws from it masterfully. Whether it’s the horror movie strings of “Assassination Day,” the filtered, watery keys on “Yacht Party” or the foreboding, mysterious loop on “Wally Face,” the production is rich and interesting, and the drums knock hard. It’s the perfect backdrop for the MCs to weave their reality-meets-fantasy, “Willie Hutch with a Dutch” street tales.
There’s nothing here to convert the unconverted, but hip-hop fans shouldn’t miss this.