Monday, September 29, 2008

Murs...the "Bad Man" or the savior?

I appreciate Murs. Not only is he a capable rapper, but I dig his refreshing playful, goofball emcee persona in a genre where stone-faced bellicosity is the modus operandi.

But he’s also one of few emcees for whom “keeping it real” most likely applies. He’s all about race and personal uplifting, and it’s pretty convincing considering he’s a struggling emcee not trying to bend to what the “kids” wanna hear. He’s the rapper Kanye could be if he got the fuck over himself and actually improved his mic skills.

His so-called “debut” album, Murs For President, is his first foray into major label territory, with production that isn’t limited to 9th Wonder. The title makes more sense after you listen to the record: he’s seriously on some “Captain Save-em” – type shit, “campaigning” to the listener to change our troubled lives and mentalities; which are often direct reflections of the genre of music he holds so dear. With lines like “Don’t ever let the fact that you can’t be perfect stop you from doing your best,” he does saccharine with the zeal of your average Christian rap band.

Only Murs also talks about crazy hoodrat dealings and busting nuts as well. An everyman’s rapper, if you will.

What surprised me most is the album’s production. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting to nod my head as much as I did to the upbeat samples and loops designed to fit the lyrical positivity of the record. I don’t have the full credits yet, but I know for sure 9th does make an appearance or three.

Apparently, Murs wants to blow up and go mainstream, because opening for Dead Prez probably doesn’t keep steaks in the fridge as often as it should. His goals are extremely reflected in his choice of guests like Snoop Dogg (whom I haven’t been interested in hearing on new material since the turn of the century) and - the patron saint of rap sellouts - who shows up on “Lookin’ Fly,” incidentally one of the album’s worst cuts.

I think he’s one of those cats who could luck up on some commercial success with just the right song hitting the waves at just the right time…ala Kanye. And in a zeitgeist when his brand of positivity could be very refreshing to the masses, I am definitely in support of him blowing.

On an unrelated note, I feel pretty much the same way most folks do about the new Termanology album: a lackluster effort from a relatively talented cat who essentially blew it despite the best lineup of producers I’ve seen on a single album in the past decade. But my favorite cut on there, minus the ancient “Watch How it Go Down,” is album closer “The Chosen.”

It’s a Havoc beat that sounds straight from the Hell on Earth era, over which Term completely blacks out on the second verse. It’s one of those cuts that makes you wanna strap on your tan Timbs and XXL down coat and cut a mothafuckah’s throat from ear to ear with the ox.

Which, of course, I’m not advising. But check out the song anyway.


Kyle said...

Murs ... what can I say? I'm a fan. That said, I lucked up on "MURS For President" over the weekend and was pretty impressed with this major label effort. 9th does appear (on the opening track and on a couple of others), and the joint has a pulsating bassline that is nothing short of infectious. Would I consider this album any better than "3:16"? Probably not; that album stands alone (in my mind) as the definitive Murs album of the last few years - if you don't believe me, just listen to "Animal" w/ Phonte' about 500 times. But with his Cap'n Save-Em attitude, this album does stand out amongst the sea of rap monotony. I was impressed.

Also, good lookin' out on the Johnson & Jonson heads up a while back. Blu is holdin' it down, and Mainframe's beats are nice.

Anonymous said...

I really like the Murs album. But I agree with you about Termanology. Even though some of those producers gave him tracks that weren't worthy of their reputation, he still made a mediocre, unoriginal hip hop album.

TomDaBomb2u said...

Aint even know Murs HAD a new album out! Downloading now. Buying after work!