Release Date: Oct 11, 2011
Record label: DD172
Genre(s): Rap, Alternative Rap, Underground Rap
Playing like a long, impassioned love letter to hip-hop until it swerves at the end, Murs’ collaborative album with producer Ski Beatz comes alive when it’s singing the praises of “Eazy-E” or honoring A Tribe Called Quest with “67 Cutlass,” a new version of the “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo”-style story track. Key cut “Hip Hop and Love” name-checks ATCQ along with MC Lyte and others, all while Beatz’s production tastefully bubbles underneath like some post-disco track from the most fashionable part of Italy. Horns and bluesy guitars are what Beatz brings elsewhere, and it’s a testament to the always entertaining, sometimes enlightening Murs that the album hangs together thanks to his words.
Murs is on that, “positive-get-a-lot-of-money-quick-Rasta-ass-gang-bangin-backpacker-Crip-shit” on his entirely Ski Beatz-produced album, Love & Rockets, Vol. 1: The Transformation. At least that’s how he describes it on “S-K-I-B-E-A-T-Z” (featuring Locksmith) – a futuristic shout out to the seemingly limitless range of the BluRoc beat maker, littered with nimble quips over a disgustingly anthemic backdrop.
If you were going to start a gimmicky hip-hop conversation with the rule that it must be about rappers who became one of the most vital within their niche scene during the 2000s and then inexplicably became equally irrelevant as quick as they become a name to watch for, Murs would probably be the first artist that came up. And the conversation would not be a brief one. You’d get sidetracked gushing over his time spent as a member of Living Legends and his breakthrough solo LP, The End of the Beginning, and then spend 20 minutes talking about all the memories that sprout out of refresh sessions with his first two 9th Wonder collaborations.
After a brief stint on Warner Bros., Murs returns to his independent roots on his seventh album, Love & Rockets, Vol. 1: The Declaration— a project via Dame Dash’s DD172/BLUROC. Not much has changed through the course of Murs’s 14-year career. The Los Angeles spitter still excels at straight spitting, penning vulnerable love tales and tackling introspective songs with brutal honesty.