As the U.S. Presidential race rounds the corner and enters its final stretch, what better time for one of Raps underground favorites to release his long-awaited major label debut. Fresh off this past summers Rock The Bells Tour and a hot 9th Wonder helmed mix-tape Sweet Lord, the L.A. native and Living Legends member comes back with a mature edge on his seventh solo album MURS For President (Warner Brothers).
MURS is a unique voice in West Coast Rap and always brings the good vibes, however this time around it seems that too much high-profile hand-pumping combined with uneven production may have hurt his run for Raps White House.
On Im Innocent MURS starts off strong with the help of Old Faithful aka 9th Wonder. The renown beatsmith provides his umpteenth soulful soundscape as MURS explains how he still gets hated on even though hes spreading love, Anti-thug / And anti-drugs / Brought peace to the party / And got anti-love. MURS sounds equally in his comfort zone on the infectious, feel-good ode to his long-time girl Me And This Jawn as well as the flute and scratch-driven The Science.
Things take a turn for worse when the L.A. underground stalwart tries to get his shine on with commercial heavyweights like Snoop Dogg and Will.I.Am. A perfect example of this misstep is the Will.I.Am assisted LookinFly as the club-friendly track fits the emcee like a poorly-tailored suit. He sounds out of his element trying to get jiggy with the Black Eyed Peas over cheesy canned drums and synths, coupled with a corny chorus, Im looking fly / Ooh! / Im bout to spread my wings!
MURS everyman verses and laid back demeanor have always sounded best when accompanied by soulful, organic production (Murrays Revenge), and while although overall the album is a respectable effort, the predominantly commercial sound that grips it ends up taking the wind out of MURS sail. Theres no doubt that MURS would be a strong selection on the ballot, however with this release most Hip-Hop voters would be expecting a little more from the man they voted into office.
“You Think You Know Me”