- Murs 3:16 the 9th Edition is a collaborative effort between West Coast MC Murs who teams up with producer 9th Wonder. A member of the acclaimed underground hip hop group Living Legends, rapper Murs has been active recording and independently releasing hip hop for almost 10 years and has stunned the hip hop world with his debut release from 2003, End Of The Beginning. Murs has released tracks on labels such as El-P's Definitive Jux imprint and his rhyming styles show a similarity to other West Coast legends from Tupac, to Del, to Souls Of Mischief.
Recently been awarded the "Producer Of The Year" award on hiphopsite.com, 9th Wonder is a member of another critically acclaimed hip hop group, Little Brother who's work has been likened to groups like De La Soul, Tribe and more evidently Slum Village for their jazz fused hip hop stylings and intelligent lyricism. He's also produced for big name MC's such as Jay-Z, for whom he produced "The Threat" which appeared on Jay-Z's Black Album.
The quick intro to the album explains it all and even clears up any rumours spread around about the two - such as 9th Wonder's use of Fruity Loops to create his beats and how it was an instrumental album which hadn't been released so it became Murs' outlet for his lyrics, but the album really gets underway with the dubby, reggae affair - Bad Man. Bad Man involves a clever call and response routine repeating the words "Bad Man" throughout the tune which, at times, is used to finish off Murs' sentences, but what really shines here is Murs himself as he rhymes about women, his trouble with women and his sexual adventures with them.
3:16 sees Murs attack mainstream hip hop artists, the kind who "are on TV seeking for fame". As stated in his lyrics he writes music from the heart and takes it out on groups who have nothing to say. The Pain brings out Murs deeper and more soulful side as he raps about life, lost friends and even more troubles with girls (especially in the last verse). 9th Wonder accentuates his pain with his slow plodding beats, old soul/ballad samples.
In contrast to The Pain, Freak These Tales shows a dirtier and more explicit side to Murs as he describes more of his sexual adventures, including one involving a fellow female MC where they'd talk about hip hop and he'd eventually "stick it straight in her asshole lyrically". It seems that mainstream hip hoppers aren't the only ones who glorify sex in their lyrics, but it could be that Murs is just satirically making fun of them as well.
Walk Like A Man is reminiscent of tunes like Gangstarr's "Who's Da Man" and "Speak Ya Clout", featuring three different beats on the one track. Murs rhymes about street violence and gang warfare with the beats shifting from a 70's style pimpin' beat on verse one, while verse two incorporates a sample of a dark choir backing (quite apt as the story tells of Murs' friend dying), and finally the transition ends with gospel-style wake music as Murs reflects with friends about his late friend before getting back at those who robbed him of his best friend.
And This Is For... is another introspective effort where Murs confronts the bling bling messages that mainstream hip hoppers have been delivering in their messages - from phat rims on their rides, to selling drugs, making the NBA and the gratuituous use of the "N" word (especially by white hip hop fanatics) - rather Murs encourages his listeners to study hard and earn degrees.
I must admit at first listen this album didn't grab me but after repeated listens, Murs appears to be a highly versatile MC who delivers witty punch lines and clever, thought-provoking word play in his lyrics. 9th Wonder compliments him well with suitable beats and catchy hooks. Sitting at 35 minutes long, 3:16 The 9th Edition seems to be over as soon as it started but they've cut out all the bullshit that many hip hop albums seems to add in for filler.