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DJ Muggs vs. Ill Bill

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After collaborative cult gems with GZA (Grandmasters), Sick Jacken (Legend of the Mask and the Assassin) and Planet Asia (Pain Language), DJ Muggs has somehow managed to raise the bar in his Vs. series with Kill Devil Hills, the latest installment that matches up the Cypress Hill producer with Brooklyn emcee and Non-Phixion front-man Ill Bill.

The thing that’s most striking after the first listen is how natural the album feels. The earlier trifecta of Vs. albums weren’t lacking much, but they really did feel like versus albums; a top notch emcee and producer dropping their signature styles into the pot and harnessing the collision. That formula makes one kind of appeal, whereas Kill Devil Hills feels a bit closer to the first round of Wu-Tang Clan solo albums, not so much in a musical sense but rather by how comfortable it comes across. Kill Devil Hills is an album that sounds like it was recorded by artists who have a few years as an actual duo under their belts. Listening to the first track “Cult Assassin,” one can’t help but reminisce how right it all sounded when B-Real’s (also appearing on KDH) voice flowed over Muggs production for the first time on “Pigs.”

Kill Devil Hills musically and lyrically is like the soundtrack to the greatest movie never filmed; a movie starring Fred Williamson, directed by Dario Argento, co-written by David Icke and Nicholas Pileggi, set in the Vietnam of Apocalypse Now.

The album itself doesn’t fall prey to some of the pitfalls currently plaguing many of today’s Hip Hop releases. It’s not too long and the guest appearances have been chosen and sequenced perfectly. The supporting cast of emcees only raises the quality of the record rather than eclipses it.

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