Thursday, September 18, 2008

Murs & 9th Wonder - Sweet Lord

Murs has been a minor blip on my Hip-Hop-dar for a little while. I should probably know him better considering he's from L.A. and I live in L.A. His given name is Nick Carter, from Mid-City and in case you were wondering what Murs stands for it's Making Underground Raw Shit. He's been putting out records for almost ten years now and until recently was signed to the great indie hip-hop label Definitive Jux (Aesop Rock, El-P, RJD2). His major label (Warner Bros.) debut will be dropping September 30th titled Murs fo President. To get fans excited for that release he wanted to give something to his fans to thank them for their support. That gift was the third collaboration between Murs and producer 9th Wonder. Available for free download with payment optional the album came without much fanfare or preperation.

Sweet Lord is nothing if it's not an opportunity for Murs to demonstrate his biting wit, sarcasm, and braggadocio. These 10 tracks clock in under 40 minutes which is less designed as an actual release as it is a prelude for what's to come. It's supposed to get people excited, and show them Murs is worth plunking down $15 for the "actual" album coming the end of this month. One of the things that I enjoy most about this album is the way it seems like MC and producer work seemlessly together. It never seems like one is carrying the other. In other words, the lyrical skill matches and meshes with the production. I point this out because many many hip-hop albums are produced by a number of different people and they lack any sort of theme or cohesion. I know this is partly a product of paying the good producers more to create hits and paying less for some filler tracks but it's like a band switching instrumentalists every few tracks on a rock album. Each player has a different style and sound to their guitar or bass or whatever. It just wouldn't make sense. The bottom line is that 9th Wonder works very well with Murs. It will certainly be interesting to see who he teamed up with for his major label debut (read: a lot more cash to throw at A-list producers). Either way, the fact that this album was free and unexpected add to its stock in my account. It does sound rushed in parts, but considering it came out of nowhere that isn't terribly surprising either. Murs' lyrical content focuses on what he knows and his everyman mentality keeps his self-confidence grounded in reality. The cocky proclamations are all hyperbole but thankfully they don't sound forced. I urge you to download Sweet Lord and listen for yourself, and at least consider picking up the new album when it drops in a couple weeks. A little taste: