Keith Murray may have a distinctive rapping style, but that doesn't necessarily make for distinctive albums if his third album, It's a Beautiful Thing, is any indication. It's no coincidence that the title recalls Murray's high-water mark, "The Most Beautifullest Thing in the World" -- the entire album is a self-conscious attempt to return to those glory days, which is ironic because he's never really changed his style over the years. Still, name-association means a lot, and that may be the reason why there do seem to be several highlights on It's a Beautiful Thing, since there are no real musical or lyrical breakthroughs anywhere on the album. Indeed, it's by-the-books Murray, which will undoubtedly satisfy some long-term fans, who only need new songs to keep their interest. The rest of the audience will find the album to be a bit uneven, despite his obvious flair for lyrical gymnastics (or maybe because of them, since many of his rhymes don't make sense, even in the absurdist sense) -- the sounds aren't really new and only a handful of songs catch hold. There's enough to make It's a Beautiful Thing a reasonably entertaining listen, even if they aren't enough to make it memorable.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
feat: LL Cool J