Murs and 9th Wonder
In 2004, L.A. underground rap vet Murs teamed up with North Carolina producer du jour 9th Wonder on Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition. After receiving rave reviews for the project, the bicoastal connection returns with Murray’s Revenge, an equally impressive collaboration packed with stretched loops, sharp drums and lyrical tales about life’s simplicities.
The sonic chemistry between 9th and Murs is evident from jump. Snuggled by floating strings and soft horns, Murs serves up polished bars about staying positive despite the daily grind on the common man’s anthem “Yesterday, Today.” Then the dreamy vocal lifts and supple chords of “Love & Appreciate” carry the Living Legends representative’s musings on not taking significant others for granted: “I found a real woman that’ll stay down for me/Shoulda never had doubts, ’cause I found you early/While my homeboys search, I have what I need/And I’m glad you agree.”
Murs keeps his subject matter diverse and interesting throughout the 10-cut disc. Take the Joe Scudda–featured “Sillygirl,” where he breaks down the blue-ball factor of dealing with a cock tease. And on the stirring “Dark Skinned White Girls” he expresses his reverence for mixed-race, fair-skinned or generally non-Black women with flavor: “She talks with that tone/But she’s White to the bone/You would swear she was Black if you spoke on the phone.”
Though the beats here are generally engaging, they won’t win over 9th Wonder detractors who often cite his constant use of the same snares and vintage vocal loops. But the Little Brother beatsmith makes up for the repetitious rhythms on the album closer, “Murray’s Revenge (The End).” Uniquely flippin’ the classic break from Bob James’ “Nautilus” by chopping its keys and kicks into a new rhythm, 9th delivers a fresh spin on a time-tested beat that inspires Murs to proclaim, “Success has always been the best form of revenge.” Mission accomplished. —ALVIN BLANCO