Personnel: Daniel Seeff (guitar, guitars); Rogelio Lazano (guitars); Shavo Odadjian (sitar); Steve Ferlazo, DJ Khalil (keyboards); Ray Armando (congas); Fred Wreck (percussion); DJ Solo (scratches).
Additional personnel: Cynic.
Audio Mixer: Richard Huredia.
Recording information: MGS Sound Lab, Burbank, CA.
Release two years after his excellent Grandmasters collaboration with Wu-Tang's GZA, DJ Muggs' 2007 album with the lesser-known Sick Jacken finds the Cypress Hill DJ on a serious roll. Jacken is a member of the Psycho Realm crew and also a free spirit with a troubled soul who's always willing to face controversy or challenge authority. Muggs' dusty beats and eerie productions fit the man's style perfectly, and offer their own commentary as disembodied voices sampled from conspiracy theory documentaries and other revolutionary sources whisper through the murky soundscapes. The album's key track, "God's Banker," is a dangerous tale of corruption in the Vatican that makes the Papal State sound as ominous and sinister as Area 51. On the cut, Jacken offers "The Pope heard about a rise in the cop's interest/And how a thing like that could take a business off hinges/Man, the worst is the witness stand/Before it gets to this, you jump on the hit list plan" as if Rome were Compton, and without flinching. The low-rider slide of "El Barrio" offers sweet but temporary relief from the bleakness while the fuzz punch beat of "Unorthodox Blocks" should please the Cypress fans. The rest of the album is best suited for creeping reapers or fallen angels, and while it's not what you'd call approachable, this is without a doubt a unique, inspired, and often unsettling triumph. ~ David Jeffries