DJ Muggs released the first new Soul Assassins album in 14 years, Soul Assassins 3, Death Valley, on August 25, 2023. The long-awaited installment was produced in its entirety by DJ Muggs and featured guest appearances from Freddie Gibbs, Ghostface Killah, Westside Gunn, Ice Cube, Method Man, Boldy James, MC Ren, CeeLo Green, B-Real, Scarface, Roc Marciano, Devin The Dude, Evidence, Meyhem Lauren, Jay Worthy, Rome Streetz and Slick Rick among others.
As Muggs rolled out Soul Assassins 3, Death Valley, he also began teasing a cinematic companion piece to the album entitled, Death Valley, which was filmed on location in Death Valley and directed by Jason Goldwatch. Now after red carpet advance screenings in multiple cities across the country, DJ Muggs and Jason Goldwatch’s psychedelic thriller is now available to the masses.
In creating Death Valley, DJ Muggs and Jason Goldwatch challenged each other to get as experimental and out of the box as possible with their shared artistic vision.
“After making over 100 music videos in my career, I was looking to stretch the imagination, and challenge what a “visual” was for me with this release” DJ Muggs asserts. “Jason and I did that by creating the first psychedelic hip-hop film; in the spirit of Pink Floyd and Alejandro Jodorowsky.”
Jason Goldwatch has been interested in film, creating videos, short films, and experimental mediums using soundscapes since he was in high school. He furthered that interest at Cal Arts film school and upon graduation was already fully immersed in shooting videos for Dilated Peoples, Madlib, Lootpack, Kool Keith, and Linkin Park and soon thereafter signed with Spike Jonze Satellite Films production company.
After the creation of the award-winning hip-hop documentary One Big Trip, Goldwatch relocated to NYC and formed Decon Records. Recognized by Billboard as one of the “50 Best Independent Labels In America,” Decon’s roster consisted of artists such as The Alchemist, Black Milk, Del The Funkee Homosapien, Dilated Peoples, Evidence, Freddie Gibbs, Roc Marciano, Jurassic 5, Pusha T, RJD2 (who during his stint on the label, licensed his ‘A Beautiful Mine” single to AMC as the theme song for Mad Men) and also Jay Electronica (who released his groundbreaking singles “Exhibit A” & “Exhibit C” with the imprint).
During this time, Goldwatch also directed videos for Kanye West, Tyler, The Creator, Post Malone, Nas, Pharrell Williams, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Busta Rhymes, The Roots, Jim Jones, The Alchemist, Ludacris (“Red Light District”) and many others. Jason also helmed Def Jux’s Return Of The Robots, Pharrell’s Ice Cream Skate Team film, shot timepieces with Pharrell in Brazil, Too Short in Oakland, and Jay Electronica in Nepal. In addition, Goldwatch directed a 30-minute experimental film with The Neptunes (The 8th Planet), Kid Cudi’s The Journey Of Mr. Rager and Nas’ Illmatic Live Netflix Special with the National Symphony Orchestra.
Born and raised in Oakland, California, the city and its culture proved formative in shaping Jason’s creative identity and out-of-the-box ideology and working with Muggs on Death Valley was a true full-circle moment for him. “Muggs put no artistic limitations on anything we did. There were no rules. As a filmmaker, it was such an amazing opportunity to get out of the box; the trust he gave me, I just can’t say enough” Goldwatch gushes. “Growing up in Oakland, Cypress Hill, House Of Pain, Funkdoobiest, changed my life when they came out. As a young person struggling to find something cool that resonated with me, and that I could identify with, I found it in their music” he shared. “To work with Muggs was life come true sh*t, a bucket list moment. I’ve never tried so hard on one thing in my life as I did on this movie. I did that for Muggs, the Soul Assassins family, and the lineage. I broke my leg filming a chase scene in the movie, sucked it up, and finished the scenes. I wanted to give the weight of this privilege the respect it deserved, and I know I did that. The powder in the film, we actually made it. My partner Ryan is a crazy ass chemist, and he made it. He is a chemical engineer. It’s 99.9% pure THC. You can buy pre-rolls of it, no one has ever sold like this, super clean” Goldwatch emphatically states.
One of the first things that immediately grabs you with Death Valley are the intricately cut chase scenes; starting at Muggs LA-based studio, through the streets of LA, and then out into the desert, the film’s opening scenes immediately put you on your heels; and the action doesn’t relent until the credits roll.
Perhaps, more amazing than the chase scenes, narration (narrated by an AI Ray Liotta), psychedelic imagery, local and national news coverage, and helicopter footage is how all of it came together; via some budget wizardry, Goldwatch’s utilization of a content medium widely accessible, but rarely implemented in found footage, and one of the fastest-growing and emerging tech trends; AI (Artificial Intelligence).
DJ Muggs and Jason Goldwatch’s Death Valley Movie is now available for viewing at Soulassassins.com.