MURS —– The Road to Paid Dues Tour Featuring Prof, Fashawn
Monday, February 4th 6:30PM
He is the only rapper with his own music festival. Each album he releases sells more than its predecessor. He toured the world without having a major record deal. So, there’s a reason why independent rap stalwart Murs decided to name his major label debut album Murs For President.
Murs wants to be rap’s leader and spokesperson, the artist who helps give rap a credible face to fans, the media and critics. After all, the Los Angeles rapper is articulate and well read. He doesn’t use drugs and his platform consists of peace, love, unity and having fun. “Let me speak for hip-hop. I’m the one guy who is qualified to represent us to the masses — which are obviously tired of us because hip-hop often can’t sell records. It can only sell ringtones. It’s become a mockery of itself. It’s become club music. For us to lead back into the marketplace and to be a respected art form, I feel that I’m the most qualified person. It’s time for hip-hop to have a change.”
Murs is so passionate about his music and his place in the rap pantheon because he’s one of rap’s best independent success stories. As a member of the Living Legends, Murs learned the art of independent self-promotion by selling cassette tapes of his music out of his car and touring with Living Legends in Europe and Japan.
Given his underground status, Murs also embraced the power of the Internet long before most artists realized the power of the burgeoning medium. “When rappers were screaming don’t download, I was screaming, ‘Do it,’ because that was the only reason people would know my music in Texas and I could go do a show there and that would get me paid,” Murs explains. “I needed them to go to the show so they could buy the T-shirt and get on my mailing list so I could build something. There’s not many rappers who have built their fanbase like that.”
Through the Internet, touring and his flurry of independent releases with Living Legends, with producer extraordinaire 9th Wonder, as one-half of Felt (with Atmosphere’s Slug) and as a solo artist, Murs has become one of rap’s best success stories. His Paid Dues makes him the only rapper to own his own music festival. But for Murs, the success of Murs For President will dictate his legacy. “My whole life, I’ve been trying to be Ice Cube,” Murs says. “The little stuff that I’ve got that people trip off of, I’m not even tripping off of because Shaquille O’Neal has a platinum plaque and I don’t — and I call myself a rapper. That hurts my feelings when I wake up in the morning. That’s what I’m here to get. I’m making a decision to leave Planet Underground Hip-Hop. I’m jumping off right now. Whoever wants to come with me, come with me.”
If Prof had things his way, people would think he was nothing more than a heavy-boozing, free-wheeling playboy. His lyrics are sometimes rude and usually downright crude. He boasts in his rhymes about how he’s pretty much the shit at everything. He’s even performed shows where he makes himself get so drunk he throws up before going on stage.
Unfortunately for Prof, there’s an underlying seriousness to his lyrics that he tries his hardest to cover with layer upon layer of party-perfect beats and rhymes. Growing up on the South Side of Minneapolis, Prof matured in step with the local hip-hop scene. In his 24 years, he’s seen some shit that can’t help but escape from his memory and into his songs, lending his lines the kind of wisdom that can only be born on hard city streets. He started free styling in eighth grade and, although he likes to have fun with his music, the swiftness of his rise to local fame shows how seriously he regards his rap career.
A rowdy young buck who loves a good time, Prof wants his music to inspire others to party it up with him. In a world where credibility is currency, Prof sticks a middle finger to those who feel hip-hop should be straight-faced and serious.
“Everyone’s trying to be a preacher or a politician— telling you how to live your life,” he says. “I’m not running for Senate. I’m doing this for fun and I don’t watch my mouth.”
Prof’s debut solo album, Project Gampo, definitely made a lasting impression on local music critics and hip-hop heads. “Prof is wall-to-wall here in all his glory, with clever one-liners out the ass, hyperactive and delicious vocab spills popped like collars- picture a supreme smartass with gorilla swagger and a mouth as fast as his mind… Point blank, this kid’s got more flavor and flow than all five of your favorite MCs combined.”
What did you do the year you turned 21? Hip Hop prodigy Fashawn earned a spot on the cover of XXL magazine, toured the world, and built a rep as one of rap’s new rising stars. Fashawn’s debut album Boys Meets World was heralded by critics and fans alike as one of the best albums of 2009 for its gritty, street-wise and intelligent rhymes. Some even compared his introductory opus to Nas’ brilliant Illmatic. It was enough for XXL to name Fashawn to its list of Hip Hop’s best freshman.
Not content to just collect praise for his recorded work, Fash lived up to his “Samsonite Man” raps and hit the road hard. He toured with Wu-Tang’s ironman Ghostface Killah, underground hero Brother Ali, and fellow rising newcomer Wiz Khalifa. From coast to coast, and from continent to
continent, everyone agreed — they weren’t seeing some fly-by-night novelty act, they were seeing one of hip-hop’s freshest new voices.