When one thinks of West Coast and Hip-Hop culture, the thoughts after low-riders, NWA and Snoop Dogg would definitely be Murs. Murs has inevitably been one of the artist who has put LA on the map and California in general. Whether it’s from his “Dreadlocks” or his knack for story telling—Murs has made a name for himself as a key legend or icon depending on who you ask.
With 7 solo albums, 13 EPs, 13 collaborative albums with Living Legends and Felt, notably Fornever with 9th Wonder that was just released April 13th, Murs has solidified himself in my opinion, as one of the hardest working men in hip-hop (that’s definitely 37 solid projects).
Here’s an exclusive interview with Murs on his downtime from touring where we talk to him about his music, porn stars, the “New West,” and etc. Make sure after you read this—you check out Murs new comic book.
Bella: You’ve been in hip-hop music for so long now, how do you think you’ve grown from say Felt, or Living Legends, or like F’Real album to now?
Murs: I don’t want to say I’ve become a legend, but I’ve become a better person. I feel that I’ve become a better businessman. I’ve learned a lot from working with each one of the legends themselves and 9th Wonder and everybody I’ve worked with.
Bella: Speaking of Felt—which was you and Slug, are there any plans on doing a Felt 4 album anytime soon like a tribute to—Megan Fox or someone–suggestion Lindsay Lohan?
Murs: A Felt 4 album with who?
Bella: With like Lindsay Lohan, or Megan Fox maybe?
Murs: I don’t know. I don’t know what Felt 4 is going to be—it could be two new guys we might just give the name away. I think I’ve talked about it once, Slug hasn’t talked about it since we did Felt 3, so until he talks about it, it doesn’t really become a real deal. Felt 3 wasn’t the most noticed project in the world. I’d hate to end it on that not be it might be time to let it go.
Bella: You’ve collaborated with 9th Wonder a lot of times, and now you guys released Fornever, in April which is a pretty dope album—what is it about the work you two put together that makes you guys keep doing collaborative projects?
Murs: People seem to like it. We enjoy each other’s company. I don’t think we would make records if nobody wanted to hear them—a supply and demand type thing. We actually have fans who want to hear what we have to say. It’s a blessing that all those people want it.
Bella: Specific songs on the album, I really like “Let Me Talk” featuring Suga Free—how’d this collaboration come together?
[audio:http://www.rawemag.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/04-Let-Me-Talk-Feat.-Suga-Free.mp3|titles=04 Let Me Talk Feat. Suga Free]
Murs: It was me and my management and DJ Quik; I was trying to get Quik on the record and my manager said he was in the studio with Suga Free—so I said lets get them both. We were only able to get a Suga Free verse.
Bella: On Murs For President, you had Porn star Roxy Reynolds in the videos for “Me and My Jawn” “Part of Me” and “Break Up Song,” and then on this album with “Vikki Veil,” its like the porn star who broke your heart—so the question is, how do you feel about porn stars—could you really give your heart to one or…?
Murs: I wouldn’t say I’d give my heart to one, but I have thought about dating one seriously here and there. I’ve dated a few but it takes a special, special person, I don’t know if I have the resolve to do it but, they are just women like any other women. They are a lot more safer to be with then average women you’d meet out in the same places—because you know what their doing, you know where their going at all times, so it’s not a lot of lying and there’s not a lot of deceit you have to deal with, you know?
Bella: The album has really good vibe, and it’s humorous with good music – but there’s also messages on the album too, like with “Vikki Veil”, with the line “never let your dick pick who you fall in love with,” or like “West Coast Cinderella,” the song about the girl whose from a broken home, and essentially gets broken by her family—but finds her prince charming who gives her a reason to live– when working on this project—how important was it for you to incorporate a lesson, or a story in the music?
Murs: I think that any story damn near has some message to it – a good story should have a message to make you fall in love with it. But I think that story telling in hip-hop for a lack of a better word, is retarded, to develop it, you kind of have to put your message forward or it could be misconstrued as just a normal song about fucking lots of girls, you know? So “Westcoast Cinderella,” could just be construed as just another song out there with all the other bullshit.
Bella: Also, I know I read you’re doing the 10 albums for 10 months thing – is this one of the albums, and with this project what’s the music going to be like?
Murs: Oh no, that’s not going to happen. My computer got stolen with a lot of my songs on it. That and combined with a couple of label projects won’t let me do that, but I have a few more albums coming out this year.
Bella: How many albums do you have coming out this year?
Murs: I’m not sure. There’s a project called Melrose which is more like the 2 Live Crew kind of party record DJ Quick—it’s a really raunchier, sexier project. Then I have a punk rock album called the Invincibles, with a band called Whole Wheat Bread. Then there’s Varsity Blues 2. Then I have a comic book that’s online every few months there’s a new song and a new chapter from the comic book and it’s free so I don’t know if that counts as an album.
Bella: Being that you’re from the West Coast, and realistically one of the most recognizable figures in West Coast hip-hop, how do you feel about the “New West movement,” and the artists coming from California right now?
Murs: I don’t know. It’s like, if you want to say something about anyone on the West Coast, they want to make into some kind of beef or some type of physical altercation—so I don’t feel free enough to just speak on it. But I definitely love hip-hop and West Coast hip-hop. I have respect for the new guys and I have respect for my elders there’s definitely been a change in west coast hip-hop but at the same time I think there’s nothing new under the sun – so I think a lot of people are saying it’s “new” I don’t think what they are saying is new. I think what they are saying is that we need to all band together because the only thing that’s new about it is unity. There’s like Kurupt and Jay Rock and myself all meet at the same places at different times—Dom Kennedy. I think its a bad thing that some of our elders are taking offense to it but as new west coast artist we have to fight because we are always in the shadow of Detox you know what I’m saying? It’s a lot, but I think the most important thing is unity. We do have Kurupt, Kendrick Lemar, Jay Rock. What I do is I try to build divisions that’s why I’ve put Verbs is on there, Suga Free is on there [Fornever album], and that’s four different types of things you know?
I think the New West is about Unity—there’s not old or new I would say it’s about a new identity because the West Coast historically is divided and what divided it is the streets out there. Blood’s, Crips, Esse’s and Black people, there’s so much division out here when the West should be about unity, its not about old, new, red or blue, this unity needs to extend out side of the music. I shouldn’t be about backpack, gangster, neo-soul, or any of those issues. It should be about “We are the West”. When you hear about LA people creating this new movement and you forget about The Bay Area or San Diego, or Seattle, or Oregon, or Hawaii. It’s all West Coast. There’s artists that i mess with from all over like E-40 or DroopE and people that nobody’s ever heard of making their part. It’s going to be called whatever you want to call it but as long as it’s about peace and love I’m cool with it. And as long as it means that we’re all working with each other—that’s why I created Paid Dues, so I can pay people—like there’s no part of working together if we can’t earn money together and working outside of the labels and outside of your neighborhood and that’s hard for me even being the conscious rapper that I am I’ve really stepped outside of my neighborhood and worked with people. The streets are so strong in the West Coast that its a real thing that the street shit is not a factor, they talk about it but gang politics is real and all that stuff happens and also I think the streets have helped make a lot of stuff happen there’s a lot of these real dudes standing up and not letting these fuckers get away with stuff from the past get away from it and I’m with that too. I’m with gangster rappers being held accountable for a lot of the bullshit they say about real gangsters. It’s mixed emotions—I don’t want to disrespect any of my elders but like in the end of the day, they tried to do Old Bay vs. The New Bay and that didn’t end up well I hate to see that discord and division amongst young black males especially in hip-hop.
Bella: Since you are linked with Guerilla Union—Paid Dues just passed so Rock The Bells is about to come – can you give us any insight as to who may be performing this year or special guests anything?
Murs: (Laughs) I have no idea. I know it starts like August 21st, and that’s all I’m able to divulge at the moment. I would like to be apart of it I didn’t perform last year but I’ll always be apart of it. The only thing that I can say is that once again I am pushing some West Coast artists to be apart of it and I’m trying very hard to make that happen this year, we did well with that at Paid Dues. I also do that to show my partners that we can have quote on quote gangster rappers on the bill and nothings going to happen. You know? So I would love to see Jay Rock, or Kendrick Lemar on Rock The Bells this year or Dom Kennedy, Diz Gibran, or Kurupt or DJ Quik, or all of them. I would love to see Nipsey Hussle or whoever–Cube I don’t care I just want to see more of us and maybe some of who are considered to be backpack rappers should be on the bill. If I could sacrifice my spot on the bill to put someone else that people wouldn’t expect then I would because people in New York need to see Wu Tang on the same stage as a quote on quote gangster rapper. We need to stop that division, West Coast, East Coast, they say Oh your from the West Coast but you’re real hip-hop your not like the other guys and I’m like fuck that i am the other guys, I got friends in Watts like and he can rap as good as anybody. DJ Quik raps just as good as Big Daddy Kane or Method Man—anybody that’s considered to be an OG rapper. The funny thing is when you get DJ Quik and Method Man, they’re all friends the division is amongst the fans and it’s me in the background that’s why I’m not teaching my fans any differently, you know, E-40 is the same thing as RZA to me. As far as Rock The Bells goes I’m always trying to get someone from the West whether its new west or whatever you want to call it—somebody from my point of origin will be involved this year.
Bella: So now I have some questions from your fans, one person wanted to know who’s your top 5 of all time?
Murs: Juvenile, E-40, Jay-Z, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, and Q-Tip—Q-Tip and Jay-Z interchange sometimes.
Bella: You’ve done songs with Little Brother, and since you’re working with 9th who was a member, how do you feel about this being their last album—and have you listened to it?
Murs: All goods things have to come to and end. I wish it didn’t, just like any other fan. I hate to see people not getting along. But if you’re not going to get along, I like they way they’ve done it. I think both sides have been for the most part pretty classy about the disagreements know what I mean?. We had a little heat at the time but not as bad as I’ve seen—not as bad as it can get in hip-hop. I’m proud of all the work that they’ve done within the group and outside of the group and I hope that they continue.
Bella: Aw that’s so sweet. The next fan question is since you were so vocal when Barack Obama was running for President, how do you think he’s doing now?
Murs: I think he’s doing the best he can. I think that he wakes up everyday and does the best that he can do. I don’t think there’s anything that I would want him to do differently. I think also for me you can’t look over your shoulder and tell him how to make his move—you chose what you want to eat but at some point you have to trust the chef. Also, get involved in your local government for what’s going on around you and that’s my hardest thing, being on the road i can’t stay involved in local things in my community because politics can only go so far it goes about how you treat your fellow man and what you do everyday.
Bella: The last fan question is since you’ve had so many albums and projects that you’ve been apart of—they wanted to know if you had to select like two of your favorite projects of all time what would they be?
Murs: Wow that’s crazy. I think Murs 3:16 and Felt are really important. Those two records changed my life because Felt the one with Atmosphere took me to a whole new way of doing business and at that time what was going on in my neighborhood—that album probably changed my life and it kept me away from home for a year and a half-two years, it showed me that I’m able to grow in ways that i wouldn’t have if i stayed home. And me and 9th Wonder of course, has been good for me as far as career wise that’s my best selling record ever. i think i found my voice—my soul mate heterosexually speaking.
Bella: The last question I had is with your comic book where can people find it online?
Murs: It’s Merch-Girl.com and it’s about 20 pages up now and a new song called “She’s So Lost.” It’s not about spaceships and laser beams its just about a girl—she gets a brand new boyfriend, she catches him cheating a whole bunch of stuff. Every couple of months there will be a new song for each chapter of the comic book and it’s free.
Murs: I love you guys. Thank you. Thank you for wanting to talk to me, Thank you anybody who takes their time out of their day to read it. I hope my music encourages you to do something great for yourself or someone else, and smile.
If you still have not purchased Murs’ and 9th Wonder’s album Fornever you can do so here.