Cypress Hill's DJ Muggs doesn't mess around when it comes to good chocolate and good weed. That's why, the DJ and record producer said, he threw in his fortunes with cannabis brand Bhang.
"I found out the man who started Bhang was a chocolatier and his chocolates were in Whole Foods and everything," DJ Muggs, born Lawrence Muggerud, told Cheddar. "Then I noticed they tested everything before, during, and after so it was a consistent edible … so I was a fan of the brand for a while."
As the chief brand strategist for Bhang, DJ Muggs will drive creative strategy at the company. Bhang also plans to re-release Cypress Hill-branded products that originally debuted in 2018, like a skull-shaped flower jar complete with signature bucket hat and a cassette tape stash box for pre-rolls.
DJ Muggs, admitted he's had a soft spot for chocolatey treats "since the Willy Wonka days." Those are, of course, long gone, but in the years since, DJ Muggs has amassed substantial brand equity through his work in the Los Angeles art scene and music industry. As a founding member of hip hop group Cypress Hill, known almost as much for its love of cannabis as for hits like Insane in the Brain and Dr. Greenthumb; and as a producer for artists like Depeche Mode and Die Antwoord, DJ Muggs wasn't about to throw his brand power behind just any cannabis company. Ultimately, he said, the decision to partner with Bhang came down to a feeling.
"Being a fan of this edible and being a fan of this company … I liked their vision and everything," he said. "[It was] more of a passion thing that was really organic than a corporate move."
Muggs will be charged with building buzz around the company's chief brand strategist. It's a challenging task in the cannabis industry, where many more traditional routes of advertising and marketing are still closed. But he has a plan to develop a "lifestyle" around the brand, similar to the way rapper Berner built a devoted following around lifestyle and cannabis brand Cookies.
"Just lifestyle, creating energy around the brand. When you create energy around the brand, it doesn't have to be cannabis-based, it's just lifestyle," he said. "We're tapped in, we are deep-rooted into the culture."
Of course, cannabis culture has radically changed in the past few years now that 11 states and counting have approved recreational legalization, and some 33 states allow medical cannabis. The subculture of years past, born of gray and illicit markets, has been replaced by shiny storefronts at Main and Main in major cities across the U.S. and Canada. For DJ Muggs, who was famously banned for life from Saturday Night Live when Cypress Hill lit up on stage, it's a brand new world — one, DJ Muggs knows, he helped to build.
"I never thought it would get this mainstream. I never thought weed would go 'pop,' you know what I mean … It was something you didn't really speak about. We were the first ones to really speak about it on record," he said.