Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Muggs Presents . . . The Soul Assassins, Chapter 1 [Columbia, 1997]
Freed from the big-buddah boom of H.O.R.D.E. hip hop, the Cypress Hill DJ concocts an album's worth of phantasmagoric Wuscape and farms out the lyrical terrorism to two coasts worth of tough talkers, most of whom give the job some thought and all of whom provide welcome relief, if only from each other. Atlanta's Goodie Mob sound plenty goodie between Dre and RZA, LA the Darkman's yknowwhutImsayin adds street, a Fugee rewrites John 3:16, and that ain't all. Not too many crime how-tos and lots of embattled postgangsta militance define a music prepared to survive its own self-abetted demise. A-