Why not an instrumental album?
DJ Muggs: I wanted to bring in MCs to give the record life. There are only certain people that can listen to instrumental music and appreciate it, but once you throw a vocal on it, it gives it a soul. You vibe with it or not, stop trying to categorize it.
How will this influence your sound with Cypress Hill?
DJ Muggs: By the third album I was getting really into sitars and Indian stuff and at one time I was like, “Let’s do some rock, but we’ll keep it separate. If you don’t want it, you don’t gotta listen to this CD, you can throw it away and keep the hip hop.” Just because you climb a mountain, you look for more mountains to climb and more ways to do this music, more sounds and more styles. I could make the same fucking record every time. I could grab the SP and make every record sound like the first Cypress album—it’s easy, but it’s boring. So for me, it just has to be different.
B-Real had a much bigger hand in the production on the last Cypress Hill album. Are you more involved for the next one?
DJ Muggs: They wanted to do their own thing and I was like, “Cool.” We were just in two different creative spaces back about five years ago and we really stopped going on the road. After the fourth album, I really got bored. It was just autopilot. The money’s easy. So they spent pretty much the last five, six years doing things their way. [B-Real] and me talked, so I’m gonna do the new album. Time heals everything, right? Wounds heal, things heal, I get to do what I want creatively and they get to do what they want and everybody needs each other at the end. So, within that time I’ve got so many ideas for Cypress, so I’m excited to get into the lab.
That’s a big touring monster. If you want to compare it to a rock band it’s like an AC/DC—you know what I mean? You want it to stay the same and be how it was but you want to bring that into the future. But straight hip-hop, unorthodox, off-kilter—I’m gonna pull out the SP12 for that record.
What’s the best thing about working with artists from this generation that pay homage to the sound of the past? Like Action Bronson, Meyhem Lauren, and Roc Marciano.
DJ Muggs: When I play those guys beats, they’ll grab six or seven and rap and it makes you think, “Oh, shit—really?” It’s fun working with people that have the same musical sensibilities as you. A lot of rappers have A&R guys looking for their beats, “No this is the sound that’s hot this month.” No, I don’t want what’s hot this month, I want a sound nobody has that’s gonna cut through all of this horse shit. Was it good or bad? I don’t fucking know but I just don’t want to sound like none of these people. When you’re in a marathon, it’s not a sprint. It’s a long race, there’s still a lot of shit to do.
Are you having more fun musically than you did several years ago?
DJ Muggs: Yeah, because there was one point where everybody was trying to imitate. We come from a place where you can’t look like nobody, sound like nobody, you can’t use nobody’s slang—you know what I mean? This wasn’t a hustle. Hustling is what hustlers did. This was an art form, and if you weren’t good, KRS-One was grabbing’ your microphone and kicking you off the fucking stage. It just got to a point where motherfuckers were like, “Just let me get my hustle on.” It became that for a few years and shit got really boring. I was like, “If I was a kid growing up, I wouldn’t want to do hip-hop.”