Murs: Presidential MC

Veteran West Coast rapper Murs has been an underground Hip-Hop icon for over a decade. Living Legends, collabs with 9th Wonder, the Paid Dues festival; stuff like that. However, a recent signing to Warner Bros. has taken the artist to new adventures as he seeks to expand upon his existing fanbase. Murs for President, which […]

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Veteran West Coast rapper Murs has been an underground Hip-Hop icon for over a decade. Living Legends, collabs with 9th Wonder, the Paid Dues festival; stuff like that. However, a recent signing to Warner Bros. has taken the artist to new adventures as he seeks to expand upon his existing fanbase. Murs for President, which was released on September 30th, is an album that shows this artist in a brand new light. Although the style and message is still the same, some longtime fans might not be used to hearing Murs over music by Kid Frost’s producing son Scoop Deville, Nottz, DJ Khalil, Terrace Martin and others.  Murs took the time to speak about this new sound from him and to share his thoughts about how some longtime fans might feel about it. He also gives the inside scoop on his upcoming project with producer Terrace Martin called The Melrose.  Oh yeah, it’s also not wise to make fun of his hair. I’m looking at the production credits on your new CD and the thing that stands out is the diversity of producers that you have on this one like Scoop Deville, Terrace Martin & Snoop Dogg, and even DJ Quik mixing down the album. You were looking to broaden your sound?Murs: I now have access to the sound that I wanted. I’m a West Coast kid and I grew up on gangster rap and West Coast music. I am diverse but I haven’t had the budget or resources to do the album that I wanted – that sounds like me – that capacitates all of me musically as a man. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a movie called Chasing Amy, but it’s about a lesbian who gets with a guy, and the guy is kind of nervous about it. The girl is like, “You should be comfortable because I didn’t just date men my whole life looking for the right one. I dated men and women – and I finally found you. So you are the best human for me on earth.” I feel like that about this album. I got to sit down with Three 6 Mafia, Kwame, DJ Premier, RZA, DJ Quik – I got to go all around the world and these 14 songs are the one’s that I feel that represent me the best. The songs on the album are the ones that I felt were the best one’s with the producers that I worked with. Murs “Lookin’ Fly” Are you worried about your existing fan-base not accepting a more diversified sound from you?Murs: Look at my hair man! I don’t care what anybody thinks – I really don’t give a f***! I’m not worried about it. I think that me and my fans have a relationship that is built on honesty and trust, and I’ve always been honest with my fanbase and I think they have grown to trust me to do what I think is dope. A lot of them doubted but I’ve been getting MySpace messages saying it’s just like my other albums but it sounds bigger. If you are truly a Murs fan from the beginning this album will not change anything that you feel about me. I am the same guy, just with different beats. Like food, everybody has different tastes in beats but none of these tracks are poorly made. I know that all of these producers put their heart and soul in to their work – the same way that I put my heart and soul in to my work. If you don’t like the beats than it’s just not your taste – it’s not poorly made or with the intentions of selling out or whatever. With this album I’ve noticed that you are kind of like a bridge between the L.A. underground Hip-Hop and mainstream scenes. There’s been a big gap between the two for a long time. Murs: That’s a dream come true because like I said, that’s been me my whole life. I listen to Suga Free, Compton’s Most Wanted, DJ Quik to Aceyalone and Freestyle Fellowship. Also other artists like The DOC, King Tee, Xzibit and Tha Dogg Pound. It’s good to finally bridge that gap. Some of the gangster rappers might not think that the backpack kids have love for them or some of the backpack rappers might not get to the other side as well. I think that it’s a good thing and I hope that it’s a bridge that we solidify and keep going. On the East Coast they have the Talib’s, Common’s and Kanye’s that f*** with each other. On the West Coast, we don’t really get that chance. I’m trying to pioneer that. I’ll open up a show for Snoop Dogg and Kurupt or Quik will come out and do a song for me and then I’ll go out there for Quik – hopefully we can keep stuff like that going.    Murs “Better Than The Best” You have a lot of good messages for the youth in your music and I’m concerned that there will be a lot missing out on it because radio might not catch on to your stuff. What are your thoughts on the lack of support you receive from radio?Murs: The funny thing is that a lot of the DJ’s that are up at the radio stations are independent Hip-Hop fans. They don’t want to play the garbage that they are playing. When I go to the stations, it’s a matter of me getting my song with Scoop Deville who also has a single with Snoop Dogg – to show them that we can play this Murs song in the mix with everything else. It’s about giving them tools. Now they have no excuse because I have Warner Bros. behind me to talk to their bosses to say that it’s ok. It’s not the DJ’s that decide what to play – The Baka Boyz, Big Von at KMEL, DJ Reflex, DJ Rafiki. All of these DJ’s are underground Hip-Hop fans. Big Boy at Power 106, who is now nationally syndicated, used to be a bodyguard for The Pharcyde – and he’s a huge underground Hip-Hop head. I think the radio will get behind it. You just have to give them something that they can work with. If I would have stayed on the independent label then they wouldn’t be able to put me in the mix. Now I am in with Warner Bros. and they have a working relationship with the radio stations. Looking at your traveling schedule on your MySpace and you are out all over the place every single day. It really brings to mind your new song, “The Road is my Religion,” off of your new album. Tell us about your road travels. Murs: I love traveling the United States. I like to meet people and the fans. Right now I am on an in-store tour and for some reason a lot of rappers don’t do that. I’m a regular dude and I like to meet people. It kind of kills it for people to think that I’m above someone or that I think that I’m better than someone else. I appreciate you as a fan appreciating my music. Just as much as you love my music, I love you for enabling me to do what I love. That makes me want to get out there and do the songs that you love and doing them with all of my heart. People see me perform and I sweat, I’m jumping and screaming – because I want to give back what you guys are giving to me – which is my ability to live my dream and make music for a living. So if that means that me and my mom are out here and we are doing in-stores every day in every city and I’m signing CD’s for hours or taking pictures, it doesn’t matter  because I’m making a real connection with people and that’s what counts. I have so much fun meeting kids and hearing the stories they have. I love being on the road and you can fall in love 8 or 10 times [laughs]. Everybody misses home but this is part of my job. As long as I don’t have to get on an airplane and go through airport security, I am really happy. Word is you are working on a brand new project with producer Terrace Martin called The Melrose. Can you tell us anything about that?      Murs: I don’t wan to take anything away from my new album Murs for President, but The Melrose is going to be special. Me and Terrace are similar. He’s been working with Snoop Dogg and them since he was 14 and I’ve been working in the L.A. underground with people like Bigga-B and Rob-One since I was 14. We’ve been parallel of each other coming up on two different sides of the L.A. scene. That bridge that you were talking about earlier? Me and Terrace Martin are that bridge. And Melrose Blvd. is kind of like that bridge in L.A. You can see a little bit of everybody on Melrose. You can see thugs, cholos, Bloods, Crips, drifters, Armenian dudes, and so forth. The last time I got into a fight was with some Armenian dudes on Melrose in the middle of the street – it’s just crazy. Melrose is that bridge though. If you want to see hot girls to hot shoes – you’ve got to go to Melrose. The Melrose album is going to be the bridge – and it’s going to be fun and positive because everything I do is fun and positive. It might be a little vulgar because Terrace and I both really like women [laughs]. I really like comic books and he really likes pitbull dogs but we can both agree that we really like women. I’ve been going to his house and having fun with the project just hanging with him and Bad Lucc of the Western Union. Murs, any last words for our audience?Murs: Yeah, stop talking about my hair – that’s gay for guys to be talking about another man’s looks. Also, f**k every rapper other rapper out there! No wait, I shouldn’t say that. Aw f**k it, I’ll say it – F**k every rapper out there [laughs].