I only just started listening to Murs about a month or 2 ago, but he’s been in the game for a while. The last project I heard him on was the collaboration album he had with Fashawn (This Generation), but he has worked with 9th Wonder before (3:16) so this was looking to be a good album, and oddly enough it would appear to be his last album collaborating with 9th, hence the title, so why not go out with a bang? 9th Wonder has a very distinguishable sound that you can notice from half a bar, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s a great producer and has been for many years. He had his hand on Rapsody’s The Idea of Beautiful, (whom is signed to his Jamla Records label) and that is a dope album, so I was anxious to hear how this album would sound.
How ironic, the album starts off with a Rapsody feature, and she has been solidifying herself by being a positive female rapper with a message that young girls and even young women of today can look up to. On Get Together, she displayed her lyricism and showed off why she’s one of the better emcees (male or female) in the game right now, and she’s still on the up-rise. Murs goes into saying that this is his last run, and the theme of the album is like having your life flash before your eyes and you’re just going through the memories of the past and reflecting on them. Not quite sombre, but it puts a deep thought into you as you listen to it more. Funeral for a Killer, Baby Girl, and Walk like a Woman are intertwined with each other dealing with death and love. They all paint vivid pictures that people can relate to. Funeral makes you think about how you’d react if someone you knew was a bad person died, and the reactions by many around them. Many plot revenge to lead to the cycle that ScHoolboy Q was talking about on the track ‘Cycle’ from his album Setbacks:
“I know niggas who kill niggas who kill niggas who kill niggas who kill niggas…the cycle continues”
It’s true; an eye for an eye until the world goes blind (thank you, Gandhi) is something that many live by, so it’s just another funeral, more revenge and such and such. Baby Girl & W.L.A.W are like modern-day ballads that are dedicated to the woman he loves (I’m assuming his wife), and it’s feel good music. It’s imaginative, it’s heartfelt, and overall, you don’t hear a lot of rappers professing their love for the women their with. It’s usually about an ex *cough* Drake *cough* or a deranged baby mother *cough* Meek Mill *cough* that they talk about on and on, but no one has that LL Cool J ‘I Need Love’ song that just talks about the person they have a deep affection for. At least not openly in Hip Hop as much, but that’s just the nature of the game – can’t knock that. It was just cool to hear.
Tale of Two Cities gives us the perspective of where Murs is from – L.A (I’ve been listening to a lot of West Coast stuff lately, it seems). Crips and Pirus (or Bloods) have been around for as long as I can remember, and before I was born – this is nothing new. The newer generation of rappers have been more open to talking about their gritty backgrounds (Kendrick Lamar is one example, as he portrayed Compton poetically on good kid, m.A.A.d city), and Murs on this track takes you on a walk through his city showing you both sides of the city, but things are still common between both of them – violence, drugs, police. ‘Killa Cali’ is one nickname I’ve heard for the state of California, because South Central L.A has been notorious for its gang violence and police controversy over the years. Unity is something that a lot of rappers have been calling for since the 80s, and they’re still doing it now. Gang violence is like a fraternity, but it claims too many lives, and it’s good to see & hear that at least rappers around my age still want some peace and unity in the city. Sometimes you have to take a step aside from the ratchet and gangster rap, and focus on the messages of real life. That’s what Hip Hop was founded on, so it’s good to appreciate that. Dance With Me is more of the storytelling of his girlfriend, who was his best friend first, then as the friendship progressed, they battled ups and downs, but eventually stuck together. You can tie it in with Baby Girl & Walk Like a Woman as being pivotal songs that express his feelings.
I didn’t know that Murs was the type of rapper that was more on the conscious side and spoke about different subjects like religion, and the world around us. I’m most likely going to go back into his catalogue and listen to what else he had to say, because he’s pretty interesting and I get more intrigued as the songs go by.
Earlier this year, a few months ago, he had a video for his song called ‘Animal Style’ and he caught a lot of heat for it because he kissed another man showing examples of homosexuality in a wave of the Gay Rights movement that a few rappers and politicians were supporting (a couple of states legalized Gay Marriage when the U.S election was over). Homophobia in Hip Hop has been a big issue for years, and since the LGBT community has been more active in having their rights legitimized over recent years, more rappers are coming out (no pun) with their support of their union in marriage and that they shouldn’t be discriminated. Better Way is a song that puts us in Murs’ mind as he prays for positive change in the world. We see a lot of wrong in the world, and all we want are things to go right. Some people believe that prayer works, and it’s evident with Murs that he does when he says this:
I pray for love, I pray for peace
I pray for you, I pray for me
I pray for the living, I pray for the deceased
I pray for the people that’s living in the streets
I pray for my friends, pray for my enemies
I pray for free healthcare and clean energy
Cause this my prayer, I say it every day
I pray for patience while we working towards a better way
More memory tracking as Whatever You Are takes Murs to Canada (Montreal to be exact). Email was a new thing back in 1998 (Jesus, I was only 9 years old) and the pick up game was a new thing. It’s funny how he describes talking to this girl and she gives him an email address instead of a phone number wondering what the hell he’s supposed to do with that. I know we were all there at one point, but then MSN & AOL changed the game forever. There’s no greater pain in the world than talking to someone for so long and they have the same mutual feelings for you, but you can’t have them because they’re with someone else. It’s bad, and I can speak from experience on that, but we eventually move on – eventually. Music that you can relate to makes it much easier to enjoy and vibe with, and for the duration of this album, it’s been like that the whole way though.
It’s Over – the song speaks for itself. The end of the album, but he talks about the end of a relationship (feels like Nas’ Life is Good), the end of his career, but he doesn’t walk away from it without leaving a message. He doesn’t do handouts and that if other rappers don’t get their acts together, it’s already over before they’ve begun. Murs & 9th have had a great musical friendship over the years, but this is the end of it, and a great way to end it off really solidifies the true essence of the album:
They say that all good things must come to the end
The Wire, The Sopranos, Seinfeld, and Friends
That’s all folks, that’s all that she wrote
It’s over and it’s finished, we gonna end it on a good note
LOVED this album, but unfortunately, I know it will be heavily slept on. Murs seems like a great rapper, and he’s been out there for a while. I’m definitely going to check for his older music to get a grasp on the kind of legacy that he could have for future rappers. There are a lot of good west coast rappers out that have been in the game for a while, but people are just taking notice now. Along with Murs, there’s Blu, Fashawn, Pac Div (technically it’s a group), Nipsey Hussle (he’s more known as of last year), and I’m pretty sure that there are more, but the point is that talent is everywhere, and it’s never too late to find something new to appreciate.
LISTEN/BUY/STREAM/DOWNLOAD this album! Whatever it is, just take a listen to it, because it’s a great one, and possibly one that I’ll be listening to for a while. Great job by this duo who definitely went out on a good note.
That’s My Word & It STiXX