DJ Muggs Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 2)

Dr. Dre and B-Real "Puppet Master" (1997)

Album: Muggs Presents The Soul Assassins Chapter 1
Label: Columbia
DJ Muggs: “The Soul Assassins record was, instead of me trying to give beats to people, I wanted to bring them into my world. I was never super excited about selling a bunch of beats. So I was like, ‘I’m going to get everyone to rap on my records.’ Then you own the property. And I like creating albums from beginning to end.

“But [it wasn’t just about my records]. I ended up doing a record with KRS-One for his album. And through this project, I built a relationship with GZA, and ended up doing his record. I built a relationship with MC Eiht, and ended up doing three or four songs for his album. So the whole process [of making the Soul Assassins album] opened up a lot of doors for me. Good people.

“Anyway, so I did this beat, and I thought it would be perfect for Dre. So I played it for him, and he was like, ‘Dope. What’s the concept?’ Because Dre’s big on concepts. He was like, ‘Let’s come up with the hook, then write the song.’

 

I think once they put [the video] on BET, and people got scared, it just stopped everything. And I think the record did about 350,000, but if we just did a regular hood video, we would’ve had a platinum album.

 

“So I had the idea for ‘Puppet Masters,’ because between us and them, we’re kind of pulling the strings of the artists, and controlling a lot of the things that are happening in the music business. I had another concept too [but I don’t remember it]. So I went into Dre’s studio, and he kicked me a couple rhymes, and finally I was like, ‘That’s the one.’

“So he went in and recorded the rhyme, and he killed it. And the hook was already done. Then B-Real kicked his shit. At that time, Dre wasn’t rapping on anyone else’s music. He was liking what we were doing. And we were fans, so there was mutual respect.

“When it was time to do the video, Dre came down to the video, and he was like, ‘Man, you guys handle your business,’ because there wasn’t forty people there chillin’. He thought it was cool. I might have made a mistake here, because I didn’t want to do video in the hood. I was so burnt on that at this point.

“So I got Dean Karr, who did the Marilyn Manson videos [to do it]. I said, ‘I want you to do this video.’ He said, ‘How far do you want me to go?’ I said, ‘Go for it. Do whatever the fuck you want. Make it sick.’ He was like, ‘How about the Devil against a Pope. The ultimate ‘Puppet Masters.’’ So I got there, and I was like, ‘Whoa, they made B-Real a Devil, and this guy a dark-ass Pope.’

“I think once they put it on BET, and people got scared, it just stopped everything. And I think the record did about 350,000, but if we just did a regular hood video, we would’ve had a platinum album. Because right that time, it was after Death Row, and Dre had started Aftermath, and the first thing, ‘Been There, Done That,’ had came out. It was kind of a weird time for Dre.”

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