Murs Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition

[Definitive Jux; 2004]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: West coast hip-hop, underground hip-hop
Others: Living Legends, Cannibal Ox

Murs' debut album for Definitive Jux was a great introduction to his integrated West Coast disposition amongst one of the grittiest East Coast labels today. Even though The End of The Beginning was slightly unpolished and at times unimpressive, the record exemplified a commitment to the closest definition of successful hip-hop today. Murs is still gaining attention for his uncut and x-rated video performance with Shock G and Humpty Hump for the single "Risky Business." Although the newest record, Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition, continues along the same path as his previous release, Murs has convincingly improved his musical craftsmanship by acquiring the production of 9th Wonder. Together, Murs and 9th Wonder have created one of the years' most accessible hip-hop records to date.

Murs' approach to hip-hop has not changed since his last release on Definitive Jux. Murs 3:16 continues to dabble with topics like sexual prowess, street credibility, and socially acceptable drama; yet the record exemplifies an attainable sense of acceptance that both Murs and the listener agree upon. Even though Murs' lyrical stories and soliloquies haven't changed at all, the record is more accessible, due to the involvement of 9th Wonder behind each track. His production dexterity is derived from the positive influences of many premier hip-hop producers. "Trevor & Them" resembles the work of the West Coast-affiliated DJ Babu, while "The Pain" and "And This Is For" draws comparisons to Rza or Mathematics from the Wu production team. "Walk Like A Man" illustrates a similarity to the work of Pete Rock during his days with CL Smooth, and "Bad Man" mimics another old school pioneer, DJ Premier. And without this precisely clever and unblemished production, this album would fail to impress any listener that has been exposed to Murs' previous work.

Murs fails to gain any ground regarding his approach to rhyming and lyrical ingenuity. Yet, Murs 3:16 is far superior to The End of the Beginning, due to the tight and refreshing skills of producer 9th Wonder. I never thought that the production of Definitive Jux could be surpassed, but with this release, it was surpassed by leaps and bounds. I'm just glad that Murs successfully acquired 9th Wonder even though it took him 6 months. He was definitely worth the wait.

1. The intro
2. Bad man
3. 3:16
4. The pain
5. Trevor and them
6. Freak these tales
7. H.U.S.T.L.E.
8. Walk like a man
9. And this is for
10. The animal