Murs

Murs for President

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AllMusic Review by

With a major-label contract on the line (not to mention that presumptive presidential nomination), Murs was obviously ready to put his best foot forward -- and yes, Murs for President is just as ambitious as the title indicates. With a parade of tracks -- message tracks, lovers tracks, just-hanging tracks, back-in-the-day tracks, treat-her-like-a-queen tracks, political-outrage tracks, comeback tracks (subtitled "Half a Million Dollars and 18 Months Later"), life-on-the-road tracks -- Murs apparently wants to be all things to all rap fans (not a bad quality in someone hungry for higher office). Such a variety of themes isn't new for the underground's most ambitious rapper; it's only appropriate for one of the best tale-spinners in hip-hop, a West Coaster who once looked up to fellow storytellers E-40 and Ice Cube. And by including a fair share of tracks produced by 9th Wonder, it's reasonable for fans to hope that Murs would be able to bring along everything that made him a critical part of the rap underground on his trip to the mainstream. But it's clear from listening that all the rough spots (read: interesting eccentricities) that made Murs so special in the past have been polished right out of this major-label product. Guest spots for new labelmate will.i.am and Snoop Dogg do little to further the album, and the productions, with a few each from 9th Wonder and DJ Quik associates, don't do much to captivate listeners either. As with politics from the past to the present, Murs for President is energy without subtlety, clearly lacking a sense of humor as well as the back-and-forth interplay of Murs' best records -- what you could call shades of gray, as opposed to black and white.

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