As a fan of the hip hop culture, I’ve always lived by the code of “keeping ya ear out to the street”. Everyday theres a new emcee thats birthed and has potential to bring change and shift the tide. He could be in New York, California, Texas, Atlanta, or any of the big cities where hip hop is mainly profitable. But in this case with Mr Mugg, potential was found in Clarksville Tennessee.
The first track that actually drew me to Mr Mugg’s music was If I Had Money Like You, This track stroke a cord with me because he explained how greed has destroyed foundations, relationships, and hip hop music. He also showed signs of humility by explaining what he would do had he had the money like alot of these greedy individuals. The track contained food of thought, he was critical without being preachy and it was even backed with a nodding beat so I was instantly drawn to Mugg’s music.
The cover for Before the Bell is an symbolic representation of where Mugg feels he stands as a artist. He’s clearly a fan of Professional Wrestling as you can hear with the Intro where he’s rapping over the classic NWO Wolf Pac instrumental which is a perfect intro. He isn’t afraid of showcasing his bars while checking sucker rappers on the very cinematic 80 Rounds which is a all out assault on whom he feels are mockeries of the culture. Theres also songs that follow that format of checking punk rappers on Gangsta, Plotting and Watchin, and the very special South/East collaboration From No Doubt featuring Bronx Emcee Illa R Da Sandman.
But what makes this mixtape so special is that we also get a real glimpse of how introspective Mugg can be and he isn’t afraid of expressing his personal experiences with real life issues and at times his own insecurities . Tracks such as Socially Awkward, Running from the Devil, on my personal favorite track Pain which eerily featured the late Dusty Rhodes Hard Times promo as a intro was a great opener that fit the content of the track.
As for guest appearances, They are held down by his own camp the Tennessee Butchers and they do a marvelous job of playing their role as the supporting casts. Chaingang(featuring Goodbye Clementine, 2 Country Boi), Brain on Drugs, and Live by the Code are also standouts. He also offers a great form of diversity with the way they cleverly sampled Ode to the Marijuana which is reminisce to the soul sample era.
Overall this was a great project full of a mixed bag of tricks. The way Muggs entered this project, He entered with the mentality of being the people’s champ and that he had a point to prove that he’s serious about his craft. This project is the perfect introduction he needed for heads to really take notice.
Vic rating: 9 outta 10