Lawrence Muggerud was born in the Queens borough of New York City, and moved to Los Angeles when he was 14. He got his start as a DJ for the rap group the 7A3, whose only album appeared in 1988, and co-founded DVX (Devastatic Vocal Excellence) with Sen Dog, his brother Mellow Man Ace, and B-Real. Mellow Man Ace departed for a solo career, and the three remaining members dubbed themselves Cypress Hill. Muggs produced a track on Mellow Man Ace's 1989 debut, and helmed the entirety of 1991's Cypress Hill, a landmark hardcore rap album that was certified double platinum and spawned countless imitators. Muggs produced two of the biggest rap hits in 1992, House of Pain's "Jump Around" and Ice Cube with Das EFX's "Check Yo Self," as well as tracks for Yo-Yo, Funkdoobiest, and ragga vocalist Daddy Freddy. Cypress Hill's second album, 1993's Black Sunday, was a bigger hit than their debut, thanks to the runaway success of the single "Insane in the Brain."
Muggs remained active with Cypress Hill as well as House of Pain and Funkdoobiest during the mid-'90s, additionally producing or remixing songs by Janet Jackson, U2, Super Cat, Salt-N-Pepa, and many others. He formed the Soul Assassins collective and released Muggs Presents the Soul Assassins, Chapter I on Columbia Records in 1997, featuring guest appearances by Dr. Dre, Mobb Deep, KRS-One, Goodie Mob, and several other big names. In between Cypress Hill albums, Muggs collaborated with Tricky and Dame Grease on 1999's Juxtapose, and Soul Assassins II appeared in 2000, with Kurupt, Everlast, and Dilated Peoples among its participants. Soul Assassins released Mixtape Vol. One in 2002, with guests like Snoop Dogg and Jayo Felony.
Muggs signed to Anti-, an independent label distributed by Epitaph, and released the solo full-length Dust in 2003. Blending trip-hop with alternative rock, the album featured guests such as Greg Dulli, Amy Trujillo, and Josh Todd of Buckcherry. Muggs produced Cypress Hill's 2004 album Till Death Do Us Part, but then took a break from the group in order to focus on other ventures. He founded Angeles Records and released the mixtape The Last Assassin with Chace Infinite. He also issued a few mixtapes of mash-ups around the mid-2000s. Muggs linked with GZA for the 2005 full-length Grandmasters, which was followed by an instrumental version the following year, and a remix album in 2007.
Muggs collaborated with Sick Jacken (of Psycho Realm) and Cynic for 2007's Legend of the Mask and the Assassin, and Planet Asia for 2008's Pain Language. He also branched into film scoring, composing the soundtrack to the film Street Kings along with Graeme Revell. The third Soul Assassins album, Intermission, appeared in 2009. Muggs remained a member of Cypress Hill, but only co-produced two tracks on the same year's Rise Up. He collaborated with Ill Bill of Non Phixion for the 2010 full-length Kill Devil Hills, and produced The Los Angeles, Philippines Mixtape by Bambu.
After 25 years in the industry, Muggs' sound continued to evolve. His 2012 EPs Sound Clash Business and Sound Boy Killa found him incorporating trap and dubstep, and he expanded on this direction with his 2013 Ultra Records full-length Bass for Your Face, which featured guest spots from Freddie Gibbs, Dizzee Rascal, Roc Marciano, and Chuck D. He also formed the band Cross My Heart Hope to Die with vocalist Brevi, co-producer Andrew Kline, and curator Sean Bronner. Mixing trip-hop with shoegaze, the group released a self-titled EP in 2013, followed by Vita e Morte in 2014, both on Alpha Pup Records. Muggs also produced tracks on two albums by South African rave-rap act Die Antwoord.
Initiating one of the most prolific phases of his career, Muggs returned to pure, dark underground hip-hop with a lengthy string of collaborative albums on Soul Assassins Records. He worked with Meyhem Lauren on 2017's Gems from the Equinox and the following year's Frozen Angels EP, while producing cuts on releases by Westside Gunn and Vinnie Paz. He also returned to main production duties for Cypress Hill on 2018's Elephants on Acid. Soul Assassins: Dia del Asesinato (with appearances from MF DOOM, Raekwon, and Kool G Rap) and the Roc Marciano collaboration KAOS appeared the same year.
2019 was a particularly prolific year for Muggs. Hells Roof with Lil' Eto appeared early in the year, followed by two albums with Mach-Hommy (Tuez-Les Tous and Kill Em All), Medallo with New Jersey rapper Crimeapple, a further EP with Meyhem Lauren (Members Only), and Dump Assassins with Tha God Fahim. In 2020, Muggs issued the brief album Kilogram with Al Divino, then released the solo LP Winter, with guest verses by Cappadonna, Boldy James, RLX, and more. Death the Magician, a collaboration with Rome Streetz, appeared in 2021. The producer released his first instrumental full-length as DJ Muggs the Black Goat, Dies Occidendum, on Sacred Bones the same year. He also issued a further EP with Divino, titled Kilo, and collaborated with Flee Lord on the full-length Rammellzee. ~ Paul Simpson & Jason Birchmeier, Rovi
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