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Artist: DJ Muggs
Album: Soul Assassins 2
Label: Ruff Nation/Warner
Production: DJ Muggs
Guests: Various
Stats: 2000, 14 tracks
Reviewed by: Mass Dosage

When DJ Muggs dropped the first Soul Assassins compilation in '97 he affirmed his position as one of Hip-Hop's most solid producers. The compilation showcased his ability to seamlessly adapt his style to a wide variety of artists. On part 2 he aims for the same objectives by bringing back a number of artists who were featured on part 1 as well as many who weren't. Unfortunately the concept isn't executed as impressively this time around. Instead of varying his production style to suit the artist, the opposite occurs where the artists are forced into his gritty combination of sinister loops and simpler, head-nodding beats. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but many of the MCs come off sounding unconvincingly hard and too thugged out for their own good. In the end this detracts from the album's overall credibility.

In terms of the guests themselves, there is a nice balance of upcoming and established MC's from the South, East and West. Goodie Mob and the GZA (who both delivered standout tracks on part 1) don't entirely recreate their previous stellar efforts and their joints aren't all they could have been. Cypress Hill however do manage to outdo their work on part 1 and deliver the best track on the album "Don't trip" which has a lovely Portishead-type feel to it. Hopefully this is the direction they are moving their sound in, away from the wack-ass rock tip they've been on lately. Xzibit and King Tee are a notable team up on "You better believe it" which has an interesting West Coast sound to it, although it's nothing too amazing. The Kool G Rap and Infamous Mobb tracks are standard East coast thuggery fare and don't stand out from anything that has been done before in the same vein.

There are more lesser known MC's on part 2 but this doesn't prove to be an entirely good thing. On the whole most of the newbie MC's don't hold it down like they should, especially when one considers the opportunity that this is for them to prove themselves alongside some famous peers. Hostyle from Screwball doesn't do the rest of his crew justice on "Victory and defeat" and the team-up of Chace Infinite, Krondon, Phenam and Ras Kass is similarly dull. Everlast and Kurupt and Roscoe add some stability to the album on "Razor to your throat" and "When the pain inflict" but both tracks end up stumbling at the point they should have given the album some much needed lift. Two tracks that do stand out are "Suckers are hiding" featuring the Dilated Peoples who sound surprisingly dope over the deliciously grim audio backdrop that Muggs serves up, and the haunting "Millennium Thrust" featuring Self Scientific, which is undeniably phat.

Soul Assassins part 2 isn't a weak compilation album by any standards and has its fair share of gems that outshine the mediocrity which makes up the biggest part of the album. Ultimately Muggs doesn't show the same growth in production skills that he displayed on part 1, leaving the listener feeling shortchanged. [6/10]

[This review was also published in SL magazine]

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