Soul Assassins

Muggs Presents the Soul Assassins, Chapter II

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Few hip-hop producers can craft such evocative soundscapes as Muggs. He doesn't just drop beats but rather revealing cinematic realms of sound with the uncanny ability to clearly communicate his smoky visions. Little more than halfway through Muggs Presents the Soul Assassins, Chapter II's elegant opening track, "Real Life," the languid tempo that his laconic string of beats bounce at perfectly accentuates the song's drifting synth ambience and the similarly swaying sound of a haunting female voice. Every one of these 13 tracks serve as the sound of a ghostly world filled with somber melancholia, the lifted soul of Muggs conveyed through music. Yet in the hip-hop world, great beats aren't enough; not only is the MC equally important, but he often eclipses great beats, for the better or for the worse. On certain songs, the many guest rappers featured on this album make the beats even better, such as when GZA, Xzibit, Goodie Mob, or Kool G. Rap step up to the mic. A few of the guest rappers do detract from the dark beauty of Muggs' poetry, as by no means is this a consistent album, but with such a broad roster of MCs from all coasts, you really can't expect that. Muggs Presents the Soul Assassins, Chapter II isn't quite as blessed with MC talent as the first Soul Assassins album, yet it's still a noble accomplishment by Muggs, lengths ahead of most hip-hop producers' work.

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