Release Date: Sep 25, 2012
Record label: Duck Down Music
Genre(s): Rap, Pop/Rock, Gangsta Rap, Alternative Rap
This collaboration between two West Coast MCs from different eras proves to be even stronger than the sum of its parts. Murs plays the role of the big brother character somewhat, having been in the game a while longer than relative newcomer Fashawn, but the sense of camaraderie and interplay between the two cuts across lines of age and experience. True to their individual albums, This Generation is heavy on the kind of '70s and '80s sample-heavy beats that West Coast hip-hop producers made signature on classic '90s albums, but songs like "64' Impala" and the steel drum-sampling heaviness of "Slash Gordan" edge out of gangsta rap throwback territory with heightened production and club-ready drum tracks.
While a past history as collaborators has been non-existent for left coast rappers Murs and Fashawn, eventually seeing them coalesce made sense considering their close quarters and likewise associates. With Murs playing the grizzled vet and Fashawn the lyrical wunderkind, This Generation thrives in its approach to bridge the gap for two emcees that represent a pragmatic attitude, with anecdotes of love and paper chasing stuffed in between. This Generation appropriately carries a City of Angels theme with tracks like “64’ Impala” and “Reina De Barrio (Ghetto Queen)” lending a radiant climate.
If we’ve learned anything from music History, it’s this; not all collaborations are created equal. Not every album is going to come out as outstanding as Madvillainy, and more often than not we get something akin to Wu-Massacre. Sure it looks great on paper, but the final product is sorely lacking. Be it from label pressure to release the album as fast as possible, or just lack of studio chemistry.
Of all the rap super-duos of the past year or so – Yeezy and Hov, Gucci and Waka, Danny Brown and Black Milk, Royce da 5’9” and Eminem – this one, between Murs and Fashawn, might actually make the most sense. Both MCs are from California, they’re both decidedly underground without carrying any of the elitism that sometimes comes with that distinction, and they both have a penchant for revering the ghosts of hip hop past while and recognizing what’s alive in hip hop today. All told, these things lend This Generation, the pair’s first collaborative album, a dynamic that could have worked as well in ’96 as it does in 2012 (and as it would in, say, 2022).
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.
Though hardly the introspective sequel to Fashawn's Boy Meets World fans of the Fresno phenom have been salivating for since 2009 (word is, The Ecology is still on deck), This Generation is a breezy summertime ride guaranteed to please devotees of two of California's best everyman MCs. Separated by 11 years, but no state lines, Murs (34) and Fashawn (23) have been fans of each other's work for a minute, but only recently met. And although neither rapper writes his best song for this collaborative CD, which lacks that immediate must-replay banger, their chemistry is instant and contagious.