Each rapper’s career trajectory is their own. Some stars shine bright for a short time and fizzle out just as quickly. Others use a slow burn to creep into the public consciousness over a long period of time. Others toil in the underground for years with or without ever leaving. Some rappers move on to other things, some rap their whole lives, short or long. California native MURS has had one of the more interesting career paths in hip-hop. Born Nicholas Carter, MURS started as a member of 3 Melancholy Gypsys, a group composed of his high school friends. They eventually joined up with the Living Legends collective in 1996. Then, in 1997, MURS released the first of what would be many solo studio albums, titled F’Real.
MURS has spent the intervening years crafting project after project, honing his art and making a name for himself throughout the underground. Becoming a part of arguably the most important underground label of the time, Definitive Jux, MURS released his Def Jux debut The End of The Beginning in 2003. MURS has worked heavily with production veteran and certified legend 9th Wonder, as well as others, solidifying his name throughout the industry.
MURS took a step onto the other side of hip-hop, and recently became the host of the excellent Breakdown series on HipHopDX, commenting on different subjects, and replacing journalist Justin Hunte (who started a similar series on his own channel). MURS’ love for the genre manifests itself frequently on this show, though it is clear MURS still cares more for the rapping side of rap than the commentary side. MURS is currently on tour promoting a project that will come out at some point in the near future The Iliad is Dead, and The Odyssey is Over. He stopped at SongByrd Music House and Record Café in Washington D.C. on May 5, to a surprisingly full Sunday night crowd.
After a few skilled openers, MURS took the stage unceremoniously, grabbed the mic, and began rapping. From the first song, MURS passion for the craft was evident. It is clear he enjoys the art of rapping thoroughly enough to be doing it after all these years. This passion is reciprocated by his fans, many of whom can rap along to each word, despite MURS’ often-verbose lyrics. MURS prolific and lengthy career serves as a deep well of material to draw from, which MURS did throughout his set. The audience spent much of the time between songs shouting out various tunes from MURS discography for him to perform, which he occasionally granted.
The long set encapsulated the rapper’s career and was received with open ears at Songbyrd. MURS clearly loves rapping, it comes out in his face and his performance. He cares about his fans and is genuinely thankful anyone would consume his craft. It seems that MURS would still be rapping no matter how many people would listen. His passion shines through in what he does. MURS clearly belongs on the mic.