DJ Muggs & Ill Bill Jump “In the Mix” [DJBooth Interview Exclusive]
In recent months, emcee/producer partnerships have become commonplace in the hip-hop universe, and as some of the best rappers look to pair up with the best producers and vice- versa, these collaborations tend to be pretty explosive. Case in point: Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs and Brooklyn native and emcee Ill Bill. As they prepare to unveil the product of their labor, Kill Devil Hills, they’re taking every step necessary to ensure no one forgets the soon-to-be legendary Ill-Muggs tag team.
Just like you can’t drive a car without an engine, you can’t propel Cypress Hill without DJ Muggs, so fans of the long-standing hip-hop foursome should already know what to expect from at least half of Ill-Muggs. For those who remained loyal to the New York-based group Non Phixion, though, Ill Bill’s forcefulness and unrestrained power on the mic should come as no surprise. And with that, we as music lovers are presented with a win-win situation – with talent coming from both ends of the seesaw, there isn’t much more that even a genie could grant us.
In this exclusive, five-question interview, Ill Bill steps inside the DJ Booth to talk about the sounds we can expect to hear on Kill Devil Hills and what it takes to form a successful partnership in music, the meaning behind and much more.
Both of you have had the chance to work with noteworthy producers and emcees on past projects. What makes this collaborative effort different from previous works?
It's different for me 'cause I haven't done an entire album with one producer in years. There's a unique vibe you capture when you work with one producer. You get to actually develop a sound in a way you can't achieve working with 10 different producers. Plus this album was created really smooth and well paced. We got into the studio laid the foundation in two weeks. worked on it a bit more over the next few months tuning it up, mixing, mastering and here it is. No three years of talking about it and waiting around. We made it and boom, here it is. That's the way I like to work.
Early on in the creative process, how can you determine whether an emcee/producer partnership will work out?
There's certain similarities that become evident if you are on the same vibe. There's an excitement in hearing a new break or a new rhyme and next thing you know you have 10 songs done. It's not something you think about too much. This album just flowed like that.
What theme is the driving force behind Kill Devil Hills? What is the inspiration behind the title?
In some of the old school science fiction stories they talk about how through the uncontrollable advances of technology we're gonna eventually destroy the planet. But in the meantime before that actually happens scientists are trying to colonize Mars for us to habitate. Kill Devil Hills is like the lost pyramids of Mars. You only really appreciate peace when you've been through war and Kill Devil Hills is where you tuck your family, go to recharge your battery and reload your weapons before you head back to Earth for more mayhem.
What will the new album possess in substance or sound, which will have listeners thinking about it months (or even years) from now?
Soundwise and conceptually it's very epic, the most cinematic album I've ever done. Muggs just brought that visual inspiration with his beats. It doesn't sound like a bunch of random songs. It's a true album with its own cohesive zone you step into when you hear it. fast moving too. we didn't leave too much space between any of these joints. they just keep coming at you like a runaway train.
Did your experiences in your respective groups (Cypress Hill and Non Phixion) influence your collaborative efforts in any way?
I wouldn't say it influenced us in any way but it's is great having that previous experience in general. Being in a group you have to learn to be open to collaboration and that's what this album is all about.
Final thoughts? Confessions? Shout outs?
Shouts to everybody checking this out and be sure to cop Kill Devil Hills when it drops. Peace.