CULTURE
DJ Muggs of Cypress Hill on How to Make It in Cannabis Without Selling Out
The legendary producer dishes on balancing culture, business, and art while blazing his own trail in the legal weed world with a new role as creative director of edibles company, Bhang.
Published on February 4, 2020

Legendary music producer DJ Muggs has done a lot. Besides co-founding the seminal hip-hop group Cypress Hill and creating the thumping beats behind timeless tracks that still blare in our minds (“Insane in the Brain” and “Jump Around,” to name a couple), he’s also the sonic mastermind of the Soul Assassins, a rotating collective of artists that has featured Dr. Dre, Raekwon, and Kool G Rap. 

All the different projects make sense when you talk to him. The man who’s worked with everyone from Ice Cube to U2 prides himself on two things: sharply rejecting classification and moving at a breakneck pace.

“It’s a gift and a curse… sometimes I gotta wait for people to fuckin’ catch up,” he acknowledges of his penchant for seeing the future, as he did with hip-hop when he and childhood friends Sen-Dog and B-Real founded Cypress Hill in the late ‘80s.  

1580847617475_tumblr_ndcn5fnYot1rnrs52o1_1280.png

DJ Muggs (left) with Cypress Hill, photo via

Muggs is now bringing that same vision more prominently to the cannabis industry as creative director at Bhang Inc., a publicly traded company based in Los Angeles specializing in gourmet cannabis edibles. Bhang started out as a boutique chocolate brand sold in high-end grocery stores, but has since made a strong pivot into the weed world. Today, the company offers everything from CBD-infused gum and vape cartridges, to premium THC-infused chocolate in a variety of nuanced flavors like Fire Orange Spice, Ice Peppermint, and Cherries & Cream.

DJ Muggs intends to act as a “cultural provider” to the brand, helping them with art direction, artist collaborations, and much more. MERRY JANE spoke with him by phone about how the icon has seen cannabis culture change since his salad days, the commonalities between music and weed, and where he thinks the pot industry will go next.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length

1580847674029_image002.jpg

MERRY JANE: It’s great to connect with you, Muggs. Tell us about your new role with Bhang. What makes them different from all the other companies expanding into cannabis edibles right now?

DJ Muggs: Bhang — it’s really about quality control. Number one, their roots come from chocolate. The gentleman who started the company was a chocolatier — [making] high-end chocolates sold in places like Whole Foods. Coming into cannabis, the goal was to make an edible that tasted like a chocolate, and not like cannabis. 

For sure. There seems to be a lot of concern over things like taste and consistency now, even just looking at the whole CBD craze.

Quality and consistency are so important. You want to know that you’re getting a consistent product, especially when you’re gonna put it in your mouth. When you’re gonna digest something, you want to be 100 percent sure you know what you are putting in your body, and that it’s the best. Quality and consistency are keys over here… we test before, during, and after the product is made. 

1580847712891_Bhang-Bar-Flavors-Taste-Dosage-1024x747.jpg

You’ve had such a huge influence on both music and cannabis. What kind of similarities do you see between the cannabis business and the music business, specifically hip-hop?

Both were shunned underground cultures. Hip-hop was shunned at first by many musicians because it was a sample-based format, and then by the industry because they thought it was just a fad... a counterculture, you know what I mean? [Music executives said], “We don’t do that — that shit over there’s bad.” It comes along with these negative connotations.

But, as you start to take a closer look, and get to know these people and get to know their personalities, you put the shit under a magnifying glass, and you start to realize the benefits and beauty in both of these things. Once you see that, [they start saying], “Oh, we can make money,” and then all the corporate fucks start coming out of the bushes, you know what I’m saying?

I love that term, “corporate fucks.” There’s controversy in the industry about people getting involved in cannabis who’ve never used it, or who previously were against it. Is it ethical for them to participate in the industry?

You know, it’s like this, man: To each their own. Everybody has to figure it out themselves. It’s gonna affect each human being differently, and everyone’s gonna have a different say on that. If people really wanted marijuana to be legal, and they wanted it to grow, this is part of the growth. The same thing happened in music, like we were just talking about. 

If you have a company, it’s your job to keep your authenticity. It’s your job to continue to bring the greatest product to the table without sacrificing your artistic integrity for an extra dollar, you know? If it costs a little bit more money for this testing, or I have to put a little bit more money [in] for more artistic packaging, that’s important: not to cut corners for profits.

EDIBLES
INTERVIEW
CALIFORNIA
CELEBRITIES
MORE...
Raj Chander
FOLLOW
Raj is an entrepreneur and cannabis policy reporter based in Washington, D.C. His coverage of social justice and equity in the industry has appeared in Leafly and Marijuana Moment.
Share this article with your friends!
MORE FROM MERRY JANE