Review Summary: Muggs And Ill Bill; i am truly disappointed in you.
This must be an underground hip-hop fan’s dream come true. Ill Bill and Dj Muggs on the same record for the whole thing. Two well respected artists in both of their categories with impressive resumes behind them. Ill Bill has his modern classic What’s Wrong With Bill?
and Muggs has various Cypress Hill and solo records behind him. The fact that both of them are collaborating for a full album should be like a dream come true for many hip-hop fans. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Both artists are well past their glory days, now thriving on the fact that they’re names have gotten huge in the world of rap they live in. Muggs is putting out a mixed bag of beats on here, and Ill Bill no longer really has anything new to say. Basically, they’ve gotten redundant.
The first half of the album is arguably the weakest. Cult Assassins
opens with violins and a fuzzy keyboard drone behind it and Ill Bill spitting his hardcore political raps over a beat that compliments him. Oddly enough, Bill nearly ruins everything he touches. He makes a great horn-laced beat and a collaboration with Raekwon nearly unlistenable on Chase Manhattan
. Of course, Raekwon absolutely murders the track with focused, on-point gangster raps, but Ill Bill’s harsh delivery and lack of breath control sound terribly opposed to such a great, uppity, jumpy beat. Ill Bill doesn’t really sound great on anything here, with his socio-political lyrics and grating flow. Even on the title cut (one of the best by the way) he sounds terribly off of the beat.
Let me get this out of the way first; I love Dj Muggs. Everything he touches pretty much turns to gold. Sadly, this isn’t his best work despite some amazing producing going on. On the aforementioned title cut, he layers a minimalist piano melody with alien synths and dirty drum snaps. He also seems to have gained a fondness for the sitar, as many of the tracks are flavored with touches of Indian music. He also tries a couple of different things, like G-funk and Pete Rock-style horn usage, but with mixed results. The problem with Kill Devil Hills
is that it’s too polished. Muggs lacks the dirty grime and layered music of the Best Cypress Hill material. He’s changed up his style throughout the years so much that he pretty much becomes a fallen-off great.
Kill Devil Hills has its moments for sure. Ill Bill may not exactly be a good rapper, but his flow is improving and his voice less harsh than past records. Even though this isn’t Mugg’s best work, it’s better than having no Muggs at all. Kill Devil Hill
may ultimately come out as an average record, but it gives both artists a chance to improve upon the mistakes made here. Here’s to the next Vs. record with B-Real. A surprisingly average listen, Kill Devil Hills lacks fundamentals and flavor to keep it really interesting the whole way through.