DJ Muggs Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1)

Cypress Hill "Insane in the Brain" (1993)

Album: Black Sunday
Label: Columbia
DJ Muggs: “That record started off in the house. I think the BPM is like 102, but it started off at 93. I made the beat slow. It sound more like [De La Soul’s] ‘Plug Tunin’’ than what it is now. And there’s some shit in L.A., where the gangs would be like, ‘Crazy insane, got no brain.’ It’s some L.A. shit. And B-Real came, and I said, ‘Yo, I got this idea for a song called ‘Insane in the Brain.’ So he flipped it, with that, ‘Insane in the membrane.’

“We did it, but it was a little slow. So I sped it up, and he kicked his rhymes on it. And even after he did it, I sped it up maybe one more BPM at the end. It wasn’t the best song on the album, but I knew it was the single.

“At that time, I was deep into industrial rock. I was into Ministry. And that inspired a lot of the stuff with all the skulls hanging in the video, and the skeletons. The guy who did all the stuff for Ministry built all those skulls for us. And we did the video at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco because our shows were nuts. So we did the video there. And we recorded that song in New York, and mixed it in Philly.

“Even the structure of that song, I kind of used the ‘Kill a Man’ format, the way it breaks down in the third verse, you know, when you hear the little carousels. Like when you hear the carousels in ‘Kill a Man,’ when B goes, ‘It’s gonna be a long time...’ Same thing with, ‘Like Louis Armstrong...’ Putting bridges in songs was a big thing. Rock and roll fools put bridges in songs. Putting bridges, and making the songs move. I was always into different song formats. I listen to The Beatles, and you hear four bar verses, and different things. So I always tried to do interesting arrangements.

 

We never went out of our way to make a radio record.

 

“That’s probably our biggest single. That or ‘Rock Superstar.’ Probably that, though. It’s like I tell people, man. We never went out of our way to make a radio record. Even with ‘Jump Around,’ we just did what we did. It happened to get on the radio, and happened to blow up. If you hear what was on the radio at those times, we never said, ‘Let’s try to get a single to fit in on the radio.’ We did our shit, and it happened to take off.’

“And fuck, I know we worked hard. And we were in tune. But we worked our fucking asses off. We were playing in front of people at breakfasts at One Stops. We would go on promo tours, and all the Mom and Pop record stores would come to the One Stop, and they would tell them the new shit and sell them on the records they could take back to their stores. And I remember doing a breakfast for twenty people, eating eggs watching us. I was like, ‘Wow. This is it? This is what we signed up for?’ Six of us driving around in a van, sharing one room on tour. Rotating the bed every night. We did all that.”

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