A decade of artistry surfaced for many people when Californias Murs linked up with North Carolinas 9th Wonder to release Murs 3:16 on New Yorks Def Jux label. One of the inspired listeners was film student with a mission to get discovered. A year and a half later, Murs song, Walk Like a Man has been adapted to a movie and soundtrack.
While Murs has mad strides within filmmaking, he’s the classically understated a hustler and fan of gangsta Rap. Read into Murs explanation of the barriers within his Rap community, as well as his justification in releasing so many albums. Murs is one of the most active artists around, and his H.U.S.T.L.E. is quite clear.
AllHipHop.com: Allegedly, the Walk Like a Man film came about because of some help from John Cena. Is that true?
Murs: John had a match, I went to it. Afterwards, we met up at this dudes house. We was all kickin it. [The director] was talkin about doing this movie. Johns all about doing whatever you can to promote yourself and promote your craft. I couldnt say no in front of John. I had to take the work.
AllHipHop.com: Originally, I just thought some random dude approached you as you were with John on the, Listen to my demo type tip
Murs: Nah, I probably wouldve hit him [if he did]. Nah, it was a meeting I was gonna have with them anyway. But John just showed up.
AllHipHop.com: Do you know what drew the director and crew to your song for inspiration?
Murs: I just think they thought Id be open to the idea. They just graduated from Film School, and lookin to get something for their resume.
AllHipHop.com: What does it mean to you as an artist to create something, and have another artist take that, flip it, and put in its own medium?
Murs: It was definitely an honor. It was an honor to help see their dream come to fruition. It was also a challenge, cause its my money, my name. Im standing on it, but having to let their artistry breathe. It was kinda hard as an artist. I learned a lot from that. It was dope.
AllHipHop.com: On the behind-the-scenes portion of the DVD, you were courting the actress in the film did you get the date?
Murs: No, it didnt. The writer/director was kind of passively pursuing her. Thats another thing. The movie taught me a lot, man. Theres people who respect your art and your work, but they feel uncomfortable kinda challenging you sometimes. I think it was one of those things where he wanted to talk to her but, If Murs wants to talk to her, Im not gonna stand [in the way]. I picked up on that and was like, You should probably talk to her.
AllHipHop.com: I wasnt awe-struck with the whole film. But there were some strong, poignant moments. One of those moments showcases a discussion on Hip-Hop with you, the MC, and your producer. Was that truly a recaptured scene you had with 9th Wonder?
Murs: That was just exposition to the film. That was his creative control.
AllHipHop.com: In the film, you have a really well written discussion with a woman over CDs versus tapes. The Living Legends came to fruition based on cassette tapes. Tell me about that mediums role in your own career
Murs: I think I just struck a nerve with [the dialogue]. I think cause he was a Living Legends fan, [he knew that]. In the Bay Area, cassettes stayed a staple. Theyre played out everywhere else. The independent spirit is very alive in the Bay. Its too expensive to press up CDs, nahmean? I think we had our first CD-Rs til 98 or 99. That was revolutionary.
AllHipHop.com: I think thats good, but also negative. I know Ive criticized certain Bay acts because they release three albums a year, and the quality just feels like its detiorated. I like JT Tha Bigga Figga. But I wish hed take his time, sometimes
Murs: Its kinda hard. Like JT, if this is all you do, all you can do, and you have a fan-base of 20,000 people, theyre consuming that first album, theyre ready for the next one. Why stop? Its a double-edged-sword though, because then you cant focus on any one project, and expand your horizons.
AllHipHop.com: You put out a lot of work too. You just dropped Felt 2 less than two months ago. I truly liked that record a lot.
Murs: People like JT, I dont know. What I do is just try to keep working. I got the 3MG project with Eligh and Scarub which is way different than the Atmosphere and Murs album which is way different from [Walk Like a Man Soundtrack] which I tried not to put any new solo songs of me on which is way different than my new album with 9th Wonder coming later on. I try to make a full spectrum.
AllHipHop.com: Lets talk about Felt 2 for a second. This albums tribute girl was Lisa Bonnet. What does she have that last times girl, Christina Ricci doesnt?
Murs: S**t, melanin
AllHipHop.com: When did you decide it was gonna be her?
Murs: Last minute. We had Meadow Soprano, Rae Dawn Chong, Christina Applegate, Pam Grier, Vivica Fox. [Lisa] just seemed to fit.
AllHipHop.com: Walk Like a Man as a song, is powerful. It deals with the death of a friend. Thats a theme youve used in your music before. A Friends Blues for instance, had a similar sort of vibe. Are these based off of true experiences?
Murs: A Friends Blues is dead-on. Its no bull. Its one of the few songs Ive made thats dead-on. Last Night, dead-on. Any song that has to do with guns or street type s**t, its all true, but its all reconfigured to protect the guilty and protect the innocent type s**t. And I speak for the perspective of one of my friends, cause hes not a rapper, but I think his story needs to be told. Its a true story, its just not my story. All of its true. It happened in close proximity to me, or to me. Im just not at liberty to say which is which. Everything on Varsity Blues is just dead-ass on.
AllHipHop.com: A large audience flocked to you after the 9th Wonder project. Do you get a sense that theyre traveling backwards and discovering those early albums you made?
Murs: I always wonder if people go back and theyre disappointed or they go back and say, This is not the Murs that I like. Or, they go back and say, Wow, Im glad I found this.
AllHipHop.com: Along those lines, I adore this line of yours from Def Cover: F**k with me, Ill do a Suga Free, send you to the corner just to get my cash! Lines like that, what inspires them?
Murs: I appreciate that people can appreciate that. Sometimes I just feel like Im talkin to myself. When I get to talk to you, or other people who know Suga Free, I think its great. I just throw [names] out there sometimes so me and my homeboysll get it. But 99% of my fans dont own a Suga Free album. They have no idea what Im talkin about. I hope I found out that few is more.
AllHipHop.com: In the East, Kanye West linked Talib Kweli and Jay-Z together for the Get By Remix. What a marvelous time in Hip-Hop! Do you think that such a thing can happen out West, as you pound the pavement? I know you have E-40 on the soundtrack on your own remix
Murs: To put it as frankly as I can, honestly, Im like, N***a, come on. I cant do anything else. If Jay-Z will go f**k with Talib, why wont Quik f**k with me? Why wont Game f**k with me? Why wont Ice Cube f**k with me? On the West Coast, we dont have that. Jay-Z said, Whos the best MC? Biggie, Jay-Z, or Nas. N***as in Watts arent talking about that. N***as on my block arent talking that. Motherf**kers dont care. Lyricism is way overlooked on the West. There is no Jay-Z or Nas of the West Coast. Youre either a gangsta rapper or a [backpacker]. Nobody gives E-40 respect as a lyricist, except for me. Or Suga Free, I think hes a mastermind. Nobody gives Ice Cube the respect that LL Cool J gets on the East Coast. A lot of it is also attributed to the gang-bang culture we live by.
AllHipHop.com: In what way?
Murs: Its real. In New York, a lot of it was just Rap. The Jay-Z and Nas thing never left the Hip-Hop arena. You best believe that if Quik gets at MC Eiht [its different]. S**t was real! Ice Cube had a fight in the street. This is a motherf**kin millionaire, fighting with a well-reputed gang member, and getting his chain snatched. Its not a f**king game for us. Its real life! These things are rooted in street problems like the DJ Quik/MC Eiht thing they were just from rival neighborhoods. It really wasnt a Hip-Hop thing, from the beginning. Or, if it starts as a Hip-Hop thing, its quickly gonna go to a street thing, cause everybodys affiliated with somebody. Even me, Ive had instances where dudes get at me and my boys find out, and I can tell them all day til they turn blue in the face, It doesnt need to go there. If they feel like, Oh, he disrespected the hood, he disrespected you, we cant let that happen. Theres so much that keeps us from succeeding. Weve just got to make a conscious effort like, Yeah, Murs is a weirdo, hes a backpacker, hes a skateboarder, whatever you wanna call me, but the mothaf**ka can rap. Lets do a song. People think cause maybe Im a backpacker that I dont like Gangsta Rap. Thats all I listen to! I like women and money just like Suga Free likes women and money. We just do different things with our women and do different things with our money.