Murs & Fashawn, This Generation
Collaborating with another artist for an entire album is nothing new to Murs. The veteran MC has put out LPs with 9th Wonder (Murray's Revenge, Sweet Lord and Fornever) and Terrace Martin (Melrose), respectively. Fashawn, on the other hand, has typically flown solo. Still, the two Californians found a common ground to band together for This Generation, a cohesive project centered the unification of people with various individualities.
The beginning to the hook of "The Other Side" is as follows: "There's someone I'd like you to know, he's the other side I never show." Now, it would seem that Murs has practically shown every side to him over the years and, in many ways, so has Fashawn, who was labeled as the "most artistic" XXL Freshman out of the 2010 class. But there are still inevitably veiled layers, and there are many in the world who do not disclose a certain side to themselves out of insecurity of being ostracized, and that is who they are rapping for on this track—yet not the entire LP. On "Peace Treaty," the expressive duo discuss their neighborhoods and, more specifically, the two most dominant gangs in Cali, Bloods and Crips, "just kicking it" together, a different look at unification. Then, with "Heartbreaks & Handcuffs," the Murs and Fash highlight those in the government and those whom are not, questioning why justice is one-sided but at the same time noting how those who are not receiving justice are brought closer together by it ("No justice, it's just us") without dismissing the idea of all joining forces ("We've got to find a way, we've got to find a way").
For all that, this is not a "We Are the World" hip-hop album; "Future Love" is about past intimate relationships that ended because of infidelity. "Reina De Barrio (Ghetto Queen)" was also about intimate relationships, though minus the infidelity and plus much more illustration, producing some of the album's best narrative verses. On "Slash Gordon," the two go in on the album's most distinctive instrumental and just interchange bars during each verse, finishing each other's rhyme, an art Jadakiss and Styles P mastered long ago.
Beatnick and K-Salaam handle all of the production for the LP, a wise decision as the production team puts together beats that mesh well with both MCs' delivery, tight rhymes and the content of each record. This was Murs and Fashawn's first LP together, yet it does not sound like it. The two feed off each other well, resulting in good music with a message, more often than not. It's unclear if the two will follow up this effort with another, but it seems like they should and sooner than later. —Christopher Minaya (@CM_3)