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

House of Pain "Jump Around" (1992)

Album: Fine Malt Lyrics
Label: Tommy Boy Records
DJ Muggs: “Right after we turned in the Cypress album, I started making beats again. And I came up with the ‘Jump Around’ beat. I played it for B-Real, but I think we had just finished the album, and he wasn’t into writing or anything. But he kicked this freestyle [over it] that was ridiculous. I think if we ended up doing that song, it would’ve been on some other shit.

“I thought of the hook because all of the clubs we would go to in New York all the time, they would be like, ‘Jump, jump, jump, jump!’ Leaders of the New School would do it in their shows a lot. So I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s a fucking hook.’ So I put that in the back of my brain.

“So, me and Funkdoobiest did it, because I used to do a lot of demos with Son [Doobie]. He was at my house all the time. But it wasn’t that good. I played it for Cube, but he wasn’t into it. I sent it to Funkmaster Flex when he was working for Profile, for Special Ed. Special Ed was like, ‘Yo son, these beats are a little too dusty for me.’ Hung up the phone, you know what I mean? Fuck outta here.

“Then, I was back in L.A., and I did the song ‘Put Your Head Out’ with Everlast, and thought it was cool. B-Real and Sen were like, ‘That’s dope. You need to work with him.’ So I was like, ‘Alright.’ So [I told Everlast], ‘Yo, come to my house. I got this song ‘Jump Around.’ I want you to write lyrics to it.’ So he wrote the first verse, and I was like, ‘Yo, this part of the first verse? Write the whole rhyme like this, in this cadence.’

 

I played it for Cube, but he wasn’t into it. I sent it to Funkmaster Flex when he was working for Profile, for Special Ed. Special Ed was like, ‘Yo son, these beats are a little too dusty for me.’ Hung up the phone.

 

“So he wrote it in my aunt’s house, in the backyard, and banged it out. We did it on the 4-track, then went to the studio and recorded it. We shopped the deal. Nothing. For a month, nothing. Profile wanted to sign it, but no money. Then Ruffhouse, where we were, was ready to sign it. Then all of a sudden, they didn’t sign it. We were like, ‘What the fuck?’

“Then, Jermaine Dupri comes out with ‘Jump,’ [with Kriss Kross]. And I know Joe [at Ruffhouse] played it for Jermaine, and was like, ‘What do you think of this?’ That kind of thing. And then all of a sudden, it comes out. So I was like, ‘Alright, I’m gonna let that one slide.’ That’s why at the end of the song, Everlast goes, ‘This is dedicated to Joe ‘The Biter’ Nicolo, you get the bozack, punk.’ Because Jermaine comes out with it, but then you don’t sign House of Pain.

“We had the song way before [‘Jump’ came out]. I heard the Kriss Kross demos, going to one of these events in a van, you know, you’re with everyone from Columbia, and they’re playing it. It wasn’t on their little demo.

 

Then, Jermaine Dupri comes out with ‘Jump,’ [with Kriss Kross]. And I know Joe [at Ruffhouse] played it for Jermaine, and was like, ‘What do you think of this?’ That kind of thing. And then all of a sudden, it comes out.

 

“But we got it signed to Tommy Boy, which ended up working out best for us, because Monica Lynch was there, and she was Irish. And she goes, ‘This reminds me of my brothers. We go to church, then after church, they go to the bar and get into fights. This is my brothers.’ So marketing the record, and her knowing how to put it out to the world, ended up working out perfectly for us.

“And Everlast, he was coming off the suits, and the Armani, and all of that. And I was like, ‘Yo dog, people are weird. I don’t think they’re going to accept an Everlast right now. Why don’t you come up with a group name?’ And he came a couple days later with Danny Boy, like, ‘Yo, we got this group, House of Pain.’ And it was pretty much Danny Boy’s concept. You know, Irish, straight razors, this and that. And I was like, ‘That’s fucking amazing.’ So Danny Boy came with the visuals, and a lot of the ideas, and Everlast had the rhymes, and it came together like that.

“But fuck, I would have never imagined the record to get that big. I thought it was gonna be cool, you know, it’s a nice record. But it’s still fucking going. I’m like, ‘Jesus fucking Christ.’ I’m doing a remix pack now for the 20th anniversary of it, which comes out this St. Patrick’s Day. From hip-hop remixes to electronic remixes. I can’t say right now [who is definitely a part of it] because I sent things out, but don’t know what I’m actually going to get back. My boy 6Blocc already sent me something back, and Alchemist is doing something, but the other guys, I’m not sure of yet, so I don’t want to throw their names out there yet.

“Back then, I used to just go out, by a gang of records, spend like a hundred bucks, and come home and sample records. I didn’t have a lot of records then. I had a couple crates of records. The first time, there might be nothing on those records. But I’d keep going through them, and find the littlest pieces.

“I had the SP-1200, so all we had was ten seconds of sampling time. So what I would do was put the drums in the sampler, put it on track one, wipe the memory out of the SP-1200. Play the beat on the 4-track, find the rest of the sounds, sample them onto the [SP-1200], save them on another disc, put them on track two. Then empty the [memory]. And it was just all these little sounds. Whatever you have, you’re going to adapt to it. So I just adapted to what I had.”

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