Murs

Murray's Revenge

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In the underground hip-hop realm there are two basic camps: the one that breaks away from mainstream rap in both style and content, and the other, whose themes and production techniques are closer to its more popular sister, but which also proudly embraces (or at least acknowledges) its independent status. Murs is one of the few artists who fall between the two groups. In Murray's Revenge, like in his 2004 release, Murs 3:16, his even-paced delivery shies away from ten-cent words and his songs often deal with the standard rap subjects -- a hard life, women, and his own talent -- but he is also unafraid to dispel some social constructs that many of his peers only help to perpetuate. In "Dreamchaser" he explains that the draw to gang life is because of a lack of positive opportunity ("We all chase money 'cause we scared to chase dreams"), and he discusses the difficulties of not fitting cleanly into racial stereotypes in "D.S.W.G. (Dark Skinned White Girls)," an issue that's fairly common in contemporary, diverse America. When Murs does slide into talking about himself and his skills -- a topic no true MC can avoid -- he's such a good storyteller that his boasting isn't boring, and he's also willing to admit the bad decisions he's made, creating a real sincerity in his rhymes. Some of the songs are meant to be didactic, but he's usually subtle enough to convey his message without being preachy ("For if a soul is avenged through the deeds of a friend/Then success has always been the best form of revenge"). It's not all seriousness, though; Murs has always been one for a chuckle, and there are some humorous tracks (the aptly named "Silly Girl," for example), but there's enough quality, content, and warm West Coast soul samples (courtesy of producer 9th Wonder) in Murray's Revenge to make it a good album that should please fans of any type of hip-hop.

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