DJ Muggs and Planet Asia Pain Language

Erstwhile Cypress Hill/Soul Assassins producer DJ Muggs hooks obscure MC Planet Asia up with golden beats for an unexpectedly vibrant slab of hip-hop. Rather than scrambling to keep up with the younger generation of talent, the wisest reps of hip-hop’s older guard are meeting kids halfway, revitalizing basement rap’s fundamentals and creating substantial, collaborative shit. Though the Los Angeles-based Muggs won’t cop to it, Pain Language reflects a cultural golden era exemplified by East coast hip-hop in the mid-’90s, specifically records like GZA’s Liquid Swords. The hard beats, incidental ambience, stabs of keyboards and strings, and snippets of foreign warrior film dialogue are all RZA at his most consistent. Incorporating classic elements with his style, Muggs creates a mesmerizing, blood-pumping haze and foremost in the fog is Planet Asia, a stellar MC with a sturdy, streetwise perspective. It’s early yet to add more classes to old school but it’s high time for Pain Language’s bumping celebration of hardcore hip-hop. (Gold Dust Media)