Murs, The Art of Storytelling in Hip-Hop is Dying

As an MC who crafts vivid tales on wax, Murs knows a thing or two about storytelling. Here, he lists some of his favorite rappers that paint pictures with their words and shares his thoughts on why most artists are too scared to elevate the art of storytelling.

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  • merchandise

    50 cent is the last of the brand of hip hop real talk. Like the real hip hop like it or hate but every body know its the truth. Rappers are all washed up now its no point to listen to any new music really cause its all the same shit.. its a shame well i guess ill keep bumpin that new Eminem until something better comes out.

    • S O U P B O N E

      This reply is for ALL of the commentors:

      Pac was one of the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      “If My Homie Calls”, “Brenda’s Got a Baby” , “Soulja’s Story” , “Trapped” , “Young Black Male”, “Keep Ya Head Up”, “Str8 Ballin’”, “Dear Mama”, “If I Die 2Nite”, “So Many Tears”, “Life Goes On”, “Shorty Wanna Be a Thug”, “Wonda Why They Call U Bitch”, “Picture Me Rollin’”, “Heaven Ain’t Hard 2 Find” and “Me and My Girlfriend”

      • da gooch

        damn my dude you nailed it….bullseye!!!!

  • lol@merchandise

    Haha, u cant be serious when u say that. Hahahaha.

    • merchandise

      yes im so so so serious dont hate whos ur favorite rapper Baby lol get da f outta heree…

  • cosign@merchandise

    “I watch gangsta flicks and route for the bad guy./
    Turn it off before the end because the bad guy die./”

    50 is awesome!
    Its more like the art of random shit with Wayne and the art of dickriding with The Game nowadays.

    • jburg

      Thats my favorite line by 50. “we all die one day” off of “cheers” by obie trice. Good shit. Its “ROOT for the bad guy” though.

  • The Decatur Dictator

    50? Nah,he was a great commercial success but he was no story teller-I would give that to maybe Andre 3000-If yall remember that international players anthem & Green Light-he went in with the story telling…50? Nope. Shouts out to Lupe Fiasco for great storytelling…other than that, that’s a lost art form but an important one.

  • lmao@merchandise

    You serious about 50? That’s just sad…he’s a joke in my book. Big Boi’s new album is great, I have to agree with the Andre 3000 nod also Dictator. Eminem’s Recovery is good though so I’ll give you that.

  • Bar

    NaS and Big L

  • Rollmodel88

    Somebody give this guy a NaS tape.

  • Epic Music


  • gaddic


  • that nigga

    Nas, hands down, To bad he aint rappin like that no more.

    • http://XXLMAG.COM YA MAMA



    50 is the reason hip hop is on life support. you should get your hip hop pass revoked.

    andre 3 stacks is great. chamillionaire tells stories. the most underated who does it on a regular…LUPE.

    50 is the reason hip hop is on life support.

    A lot of elements of hip hop is changing BUT if u dig deep. jcole has a great story telling song on the warm up, its the girl of my dreams song. t.i. has a good one on his mixtape. young jeezy even did a good job on his last mixtape.

    • jburg

      I’m usually with you with alot of stuff but I have to disagree with you about 50. He is keeping it competitive and real. If I don’t like a nigga I don’t associate with him or niggas he fuck with. Thats his mentality. I respect that. Hip hop is hurting because of dudes like Wack as Fucka and Gucci that make that stupid shit. 50 is actually a really good story teller, “Many Men”, ” A Baltimore Love Thing”, “Hate it or Love it”, “Warrior pt. 2″ hell even “21 Questions” was hot. Thats just album cuts. He had some great mixtape shits too.

  • El Tico Loco

    Scarface, Ice Cube, ghostface, nas and Big L haven’t heard any new cats telling stories unless Mike Bigga is as new as it gets when it comes to storytellin ok maybe Joell Ortiz, if I’m wrong I need names please.

  • go go gadget flow

    eminem, slaughterhouse, lupe, j cloe and common are definately some of the best at the moment

  • Funkdaelikk

    Murs hit it right on the head with this 1,couldnt tell you the last time a new rapper had a ILL story to kick,only one i can even think of is probaby Brother ALI but anyways.SLICK RICKS cool with the story telling thats pretty much all he does,not hating.
    But 2 me hands down the dopest story teller ever well…what do u get when you Stephrn King+Sidney Sheldon=none other then
    SCARFACE!!.Lets not even mention the geto boys.All u really gotta do is check out his first solo joint MR.SCARFACE IS BACK too really get a grasp of how genius he really is,from IM DEAD,A MINUTE TO PRAY SECOND TO DIE,GOOD GIRL GONE BAD.Tracks like SEEN A MAN DIE,NO TEARS,STREET LIFE.Even though those tracks are more then 15yrs old he’s still putting out ill stories check out HEAVEN,SUICIDE NOTE,HIGH NOTE,truly the illest in my eyes.

    plus lets not 4get bout B.I.G WARNING STILL PAINTS A MOVIE TYPE IMAGE IN MIND EVERYTIME I HEAR IT.IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE is another crazy teller name me 2 better stories then PERUVIAN COCAINE and probably the dopest story ever put out in hip hop DANCE WITH THE DEVIL.

  • Sha

    I’m feeling Murs on this one….

    @ El Tico Loco…

    I personally share the same opinion. Nobody says anything anymore without the Cliched “Diamonds, alcohol, weed, money, and pussy”.

    Kanye used to say something….. On his first album…. Now he’s cliched out…..

    Hip-Hop needs a gang of niggas that rep like Slick Rick and Public Enemy.

  • Money Mitch

    Y’all might hate on me for this but Violent J is one of the illest story tellers in hip hop hands down!! Nobody has written more stories than him and his are some of the best!! Him and the ruler should do a track together they are the best story tellers in hip hop!! Don’t forget tech n9ne and immortal technique!!



  • ms_spittuh

    …I’m listening to a lot of Ghostface Killah as of lately. I’ve been in a writer’s block mood so I need inspiration. The whole fuckin Ghostdini catalog :D

  • beaver

    the track is soo fuckin dope.
    its so vivid..

  • swype-matic

    Ghostface Killah, GZA, Raekwon, Nas, Lupe…there’s a lot of others, but as of recently/new artists, shit i don’t know.

  • chucky

    yo lupe is the best story teller out right now real rap

  • Devi Gargon

    Its amazes me that no one ever mentions this…

    GURU from Gangstarr

    Manifest, Just to Get a Rep, Ex girl to the next girl, step in the arena, dicipline, all 4 the cash, jfk to lax, above the clouds, code of the streets, moment of truth…. almost every song!!!

  • Malik


  • Pingback: Murs + XXL Magazine |

  • nicholasdelorejo

    I think the problem with the lack of story tellers in rap has to do with the lack of rappers providing a human conciousness in their music. Too many rappers these days are more focused being the characters they create for an image (hustler, trapper, mack,…) and not trying to dig deep for life experiences. Nobody can say they didn’t feel anything from Andre 3000′s verse on “Da Art of Story Tellin” when he talked about first love Sasha Thumper. Till this day listeining to “Brenda’s Baby” fucks me up. Back then rappers really felt like they were human beings because they wrote songs that were both relatable and dug deep in the listener. But these days more rappers are so generic and emotionless that were usually left to have hate for particular artists (Nicki Minaj, Gucci, ect) because we think their just people trying to hustle their way in music and don’t care about the fans except for a profit. Hell to be honest Lil Wayne’s Rebirth was his best album to me becase he showed a better insight into his thoughts and feelings. I’m not saying that was a great album or that rappers have to be sensitive but Music is supposed to be art and art is usually meant to drive people to feel something.

    • jburg

      Good shit.

  • moneychamp

    What’s on dudes head?

  • keys hip hop head

    what about common

  • Anonymous


  • BeerGangsta

    If anybody can tell u that Hip Hop is dying is the MC Master. Come back and show these new school Fuckers how to make good music. They Shit got me suck as a wet dog.

  • Neotropic

    I dunno about any of those mentioned. There is more out there than what you hear on the Radio. The radio will not play the really good ‘undergound’ stuff. Well… in the US any ways. Many of these types of blogs, not saying this one, are invalid when they do not accept all possible areas.

    Do not know much about Nas, but hear a lot of good things.

    With all honesty its up in the air between Atmosphere 97-Current). Never heard? You really need to check their stuff out. Has such a sick flow.

    And then you have UK’s Phi-Life Cypher (2000-2003). Would love to see more from these guys. Fatcats is just plain sick.

    There are many, many good artists out there.
    Explore, Educate and Expand.