Virtually alone among contemporary rappers, Murs tells a straightforward story with every rap, and listeners looking for more to love following one of the most acclaimed rap records of 2003 (The End of the Beginning) will be glad to find ten more tracks of equal value on Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition. At some point during a hectic 2003 that saw him doing close to 200 shows, Murs decamped to North Carolina to join producer 9th Wonder (Little Brother) for that rare thing in post-gangsta rap -- a dedicated rapper/producer session. While he claims he's "more Coldplay than Ice-T," this is a gangsta record through and through, though one from the viewpoint of a common-man hustler who walks the grocery store parking lots ("H-U-S-T-L-E"), spits raps about not being able to pick up any women ("The Pain"), and drops a deft two-minute tale ("Trevor an' Them") about witnessing the most inept heist of all time. 9th Wonder's productions are the perfect balance for Murs' raps, spreading the '70s sweet soul samples all over the record and keeping the beats simple and chunky. Despite a few of his trademark entertaining tracks, Murs is dead serious on this record, eulogizing a friend on "Walk Like a Man" and laying out his sexual exploits (with far too many details) on "Freak These Tales." It's that balance of frankness and occasional humor that makes 3:16: The 9th Edition every bit the informed record that its predecessor was.
AllMusic Review by John Bush
feat: 9th Wonder