There’s something undeniably pure about a one-rapper/one-producer album. Flash back to the days of Gang Starr and Pete Rock & CL Smooth, when cohesion was preferred over the grab-bag approach and LPs knocked with a unified sound. Fortunately, it’s far from a lost practice. North Carolina instrumentalist (and guest vlogger this week) 9th Wonder knows the deal, having constructed memorable records of this vein with Buckshot and Murs; his latest entry with David Banner, Death of a Pop Star, is right around the corner, as well, with a November 9 release date. That’ll be a month after underground production veteran Illmind unveils of his Live from the Tape Deck collaboration with Brooklyn lyricist Skyzoo on October 5.
Out on the West Coast, DJ Muggs has also adhered this one-on-one blueprint. In 2005, he teamed up with Wu-Tang’s GZA/Genius for the dynamite Grandmasters, followed by 2007’s Legend of the Mask and the Assassin with Sick Jacken and 2008’s Planet Asia-starring Pain Language. Today, Muggs is back at it alongside NYC’s Ill Bill on Kill Devil Hills, a dark journey into a world full of gunplay and nightmarish conspiracy theories. For lovers of hardcore hip-hop, it’ll leave you wanting more from Muggs, which has our brains scrambling.
XXL combed through the Soul Assassin’s list of past collaborators to pick the six MCs most worthy of an all-Muggs-produced album, giving an example of each pairing’s chemistry for argument’s sake. You guys like arguing, right?
The Dogg Pound spitter is no stranger to working with just one producer. For starters, the majority of his DPG albums are scored by groupmate Daz, but there’s also last year’s Blaqkout, which found Young Gotti rocking over all DJ Quik beats—the result was one of 2009’s most slept-on discs. Kurupt is a beast when placed above rugged tracks, so locking him in a studio with Muggs seems about as foolproof as dream rap-teams can get. Just see the Cali rapper’s two contributions to Muggs’s 2000 compilation Soul Assassins II, “Armageddon (Interlude)” and “When the Pain Inflict.”
DJ Muggs feat. Kurupt “Armageddon (Interlude)” [from Soul Assassins II, 2000]