THE MUGGS COLLECTION


The influence of Soul Assassins mastermind Lawrence “DJ Muggs” Muggerud on West Coast hip-hop shouldn’t be underestimated. Originally a native of Queens who moved to LA as a teenager, the ill Italiano got his chops in the late ’80s DJing for short-lived Geffen Records rap group The 7A3 (as DJ Grandmixer Muggs…he’s the one on the left). KDAY’s Julio G introduced him to rappers B-Real and the the Reyes brothers (Sen Dog and Mellow Man Ace), a partnership that led to the formation of Cypress Hill.

The massive success of the group, fueled by Muggs’s unique, playfully dark sound, blazed a new trail for West Coast rap. The producer’s sample-heavy, New York-influenced beats made the group’s first two album hip-hop classics, and before long he was one of the genre’s most in-demand beatmakers, working with heavyweights like Ice Cube and mentoring newer Soul Assassins artists like Funkdoobiest, House of Pain and a young Alchemist. The rise of the West Coast underground scene in the ’90s owes a massive debt to Muggs’ unorthadox work, which proved that music that was decidedly not g-funk could still represent Cali correct. I compiled a grip of must-have Muggs classics for this week’s second Uggh…Nice Watch collection…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK!!

THE BATTLECAT COLLECTION


Quik and Dre are rightfully lauded as the giants of West Coast hip-hop, but one guy that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath is Kevin “DJ Battlecat” Gilliam. This dude is g-funk in the flesh. Amazing. Originally a radio DJ at KDAY, he blew up as a producer in ’93 with Domino’s huge hits “Getto Jam” and “Sweet Potato Pie,” adding a cooled-out, jazzy R&B flavor to the funk-based sound of the minute (Doggystyle came out two weeks before Domino’s debut).

Since then, Battlecat has become a West Coast staple, producing hits and hidden gems on a slew of classic albums, from Ras Kass to Snoop. I was watching video video of him in the studio recently (this one), and it really made sense that he would be such a big Tribe Called Quest fan. He’s sort of gotten pigeonholed as a niche West Coast-only producer for whatever reason, despite his creativity, track record and amazing musicality. A lot of great producers come and fade away, but a Cat track is still as dope today as it was in 1995. Take a listen to this week’s release and you’ll hear what I mean. I compiled some highlights from the last 20 years…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK!!

THE JIM JONSIN COLLECTION


Over the last 8 years, Miami producer James “Jim Jonsin” Scheffer has given his career a complete makeover. While local Florida music fans might know him as DJ Jealous J, a legendary DJ/rapper/producer in the state’s electro bass scene, today’s urban music fans know him as the 808-friendly pop producer behind smashes like T.I.’s “Whatever You Like,” Soulja Boy’s “Kiss Me Thru The Phone” and Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop.”

But Jonsin’s journey began in the late ’80s, when he started producing and performing bass records under the name Jealous J for the independent Cut-It-Up-Def label, including some joints that are widely considered classics of the genre. He was particularly well known for his precise cutting and scratching skills as a DJ. Jim continued working with Heat Wave Records and Dynamix II Records through the mid-’90s, but by that time the bass scene was becoming a shadow of its former self.

During the late ’90s, he released a more trance-flavored album under the name DJ Devistada, while founding a hip-hop-oriented label under Warner Brothers called Paper Chasers that would never come to fruition. But the big change in his career came with the national crossover of Miami rap. Jim started producing a few album cuts for Trick Daddy and Trina, before linking up with producer Bigg D and forming a new production crew called The Unusual Suspects. The partnership only lasted a few years, but the hits they made together finally turned Jim into a viable mainstream pop producer. I’ve compiled some of my favorite Jim Jonsin-related joints from the last 20 years for this week’s Uggh…Nice Watch release…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK!!

THE TRICKY STEWART COLLECTION

trickystewartcollection

The-Dream is the biggest shit in R&B right now, but his fans still don’t know much about the guy behind the guy: veteran producer Christopher “Tricky” Stewart. The 35-year-old creative mastermind was already producing for major artists (along with his original partner Sean “Sep” Hall) while still in high school. Originally a native of Chicago’s suburbs, Tricky worked in L.A. for a few years before meeting L.A. Reid and moving out to Atlanta in 1995, where he established his RedZone Entertainment company.

Before long, he was crafting huge mainstream hits for JT Money and Mya, and signing a few semi-successful artists like Blu Cantrell. The RedZone collective has since grown to include key players like songwriter The-Dream and vocal producer Kuk Harrell, a team that’s taken Tricky’s success to new heights. In honor of Love Vs. Money dropping today, I compiled some of my favorite Tricky joints from the last 17 years for this week’s Uggh…Nice Watch release…

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK!!

THE NELLEE HOOPER COLLECTION

nelleehoopercollection_coverWhen it comes to British music, Nellee Hooper has been at the center of some major movements. He started out in the early ’80s as a founding member of influential Bristol DJ crew/sound system The Wild Bunch, who eventually spawned trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack.

By the late ’80s, Hooper had moved to London and joined up with Jazzie B in a new group called Soul II Soul, who, for the first time, brought a unique brand of British soul music to the international pop charts. His work on early albums by Björk and Massive Attack led to Hooper becoming one of the most in-demand producers in popular music, making huge hits for superstars like Madonna and U2. Trust me—if you’re not familiar with Hooper, you’ll be amazed at the diversity of truly classic records he’s produced. I’ve compiled some of my favorites for this week’s Uggh…Nice Watch release.

CLICK HERE FOR THE TRACKLISTING + DOWNLOAD LINK!

THE BACKPACK RAP COLLECTION

backpackrapcollectionuggh2
Making fun of modern day backpackers is definitely one of my favorite hobbies, but truth be told, I was obsessed with the original era of so-called “backpack rap” in the mid-to-late ’90s. At the same time that hip-hop’s bigger-than-life jiggy era was in full bloom, an alternative scene sprung up, centered around independent vinyl releases, lyrical experimentation and a rejection of “the industry.”

Most of these classic records were only issued on 12″ single in the years before file-sharing exploded, and as a result, many of these artists and songs have been forgotten. To me, the backpack era officially ended in 1999, when Eminem blew up and Funk Flex started playing Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says” on Hot97. I’ve compiled 40 of my favorite joints from the era for your listening pleasure.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINKS

THE MAURICE STARR COLLECTION

uggh_mauricestarrcollection

As the father of the modern boy band, Maurice “The General” Starr gets a lot of hate. He created two mega-successful pop groups—New Edition and New Kids On The Block—and laid the blueprint for later rip-offs like the N*SYNC and B2K. Unfortunately, this cheesy, pre-fab pop legacy overshadows the fact that Maurice Starr was a skilled songwriter and producer.

Critics may be surprised to learn that Starr was actually a key member of seminal ’80s electro group Jonzun Crew, and that he released a few soulful solo albums himself. In addition to bubblegum pop, he wrote and produced for a wide variety of ’80s artists in everything from jazz to hip-hop. I compiled this compilation of my favorite Maurice Starr-related tracks so everyone can see his well-known boy band material in the context of his greater career.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TRACKLIST + DOWNLOAD LINK