ANTICIPATION RISES HERE FOR A FIRST LIVE PAIRING OF 9TH WONDER AND MURS IN AUSTRALIA. MURS, REAL NAME NICK CARTER, DISCUSSES TOURING WITH 9TH WONDER, STAYING TRUE TO THE CULTURE HE WAS RAISED ON AND AUSTRALIAN HIP HOP ARTISTS HE FUCKS WITH.
MURS interviewed @ 13:40 AEST – Monday 18th April, 2011
For Street Press Australia & Rip2Shredz Press
Words by RIP NICHOLSON
A long-serving west coast rapper, MURS stays staunch and devoted to his home town and thanks to the interstate bounces of North Carolina’s 9thWonder, he’s representing Los Angeles life like Crips and Bloods. “If you’re super, really into being a Crip and you’re around a bunch of Bloods, the more Bloods you see, it’s gonna wanna make you be even more of a Crip. So when I’m with someone who ain’t where I’m from, I love representing where I’m from so much it makes me want to to do it ten times harder.”
New tracks from his and producer 9th Wonder’s fourth outing, last year’s Fornever album, such as ‘West Coast Cinderella,’ ‘Let Me Talk’ (featuring the smack-talking pimp supreme Suga Free) and ‘Live From Roscoe’s’ with one of Cali’s fiercest campaigners, Kurupt from Tha Dogg Pound, have kept their long-player very west coast.
“I wanted [Kurupt] to rap on Fornever, he wanted to rap on… Roscoe’s. I couldn’t decide which one. He said, ‘Fuck decidin’, I’ma rap on both!’ he was just happy to chill out and be in the studio with 9th Wonder,” he recalls.
Many thought MURS and 9th Wonder were done with their last LP, 2008’s Sweet Lord, yet with the release of another classic west coast album, Fornever could go on forever.
“Hopefully when we’re dead we’ll be over. I hope we can continue working together for as long as we can exchange energy on this planet. I don’t think some people’s marriages work as well as we do,” quips Carter. MURS remembers a heated moment between he and 9th Wonder before a Rock The Bells show that was quashed and forgotten seamlessly as soon as MURS got his stage call. “In order to get along in life I think you have to have a very short memory. It works and most importantly it works for the listener.”
Getting 9th Wonder to come to Australia isn’t easy for MURS who once had to ask 9th’s wife permission to let him come out to L.A. to record. Needless to say, MURS had him back home inside of five days. The Tar Heels’ home-town beatsmith is by no means the artist found on the road under a heavy tour schedule.
“He doesn’t travel or tour much with anyone. He’s a family man. He’s the kinda guy that will take his daughters to school every day. He doesn’t like to miss recitals or ballet or gymnastics or soccer games. He doesn’t miss anything,” emphasises Carter.
It’s the second time MURS has performed before Australian audiences and he is knee-deep in support of our fledging scene – as both a fan and collaborator – and it’s part of the reason why he garners so much love down here with his brand of nerds-in-the-hood rap.
“I have A-Love’s album, Bliss N Eso’s album, Funkoars’ album, Muph N Plutonic’s record. I did [‘No Regrets’] with Hyjak N Torcha. Torcha came over and we shot a video on the beach. I fuck with a lot of people – Hilltop Hoods, Brad Strut and Delta is a brother to me. I have a lot of respect for the independent scene in Australia.”
Q & A with MURS
You’ve been here before, rocking Australian crowds – how do you like it down under?
Well when you leave America you don’t get to rock to a crowd who can understand every word and we can feed off that. I don’t come with guitar solos or nothing, You have to kind of understand what I’m saying. SO its good that people can relate and feed off my words.
9th Wonder has been with you for a while, why only now are you planning to invite him down with you?
He doesn’t travel much. He doesn’t tour much with anyone. He’s a family man. He’s the kinda guy that will take his daughters to school every day. He doesn’t like to miss recitals or belle or gymnastics or soccer games. He doesn’t miss anything,” emphasises Carter.
So this time we were able to bring both of our wives. Everything we do it centred around family, because it’s gonna last longer than five days. Usually we do it at his house (produce/record) His brothers, cousins, sisters, uncles, aunts, father, mother, we are all very close and they’ve become my extended family.”
[Having to ask 9th Wonder’s wife permission to borrow her husband for a week to come out to L.A. to record with MURS, he had him back within five days.]
Plenty of West coast rollers with you on this LP – Kurupt, Suga Free, Sicc Jacken – how is it you find chemistry in 9th Wonder’s Motown soul and boom-bap beats to create the soundscape for something that should one day be a West coast classic?
For me being from uh truly ignorant and very sad gang culture. You know when I’m somewhere else I wanna represent where I’m from. If you’re super, really into being a Crip and you’re around a bunch of Bloods, the more Bloods you see, it’s gonna wanna make you be even more of a Crip. And so when I’m with someone who ain’t where I’m from, I love to representing where I’m from so much it makes me want to to do it ten times harder.
What do you think of young Compton rappers, still slanging gang rhymes?
I think there is space for everybody. I’m just glad there’s enough space in L.A. For someone to be different now. As long as there’s gangs I expect there to be gangsta rap. Some of my friends are gangbangers and I don’t expect them to not have anything to listen to, you know. My whole beef is, is it really about that? I have no problem with someone representing what they do. If you’re gonna be a drug dealer then be the best, if you’re gonna be a gang-member then be the best gang-member you can be. I know if I’m gonna get shot or someone gets shot I know where I can come for protection. If I need to know what’s going on in the streets I don’t wanna come up and he says ‘oh it’s day off.’ Everyday I’m gonna be about rapping.
Fornever is the fourth LP between you two, some thought you two were done after Sweet Lord – will we get more projects from the both of you?
Hopefully that’s when we’re dead, we’ll be over. I hope we can continue working together for as long as we can exchange energy on this plain and even beyond that, you know. I don’t think some people’s marriages work as well as we do. We also have two personalities that click. We’re not the same creatively, we’re different in our personal lives, we’re two different people.” MURS discussed a heated moment between he and 9th Wonder before a Rock The Bells show, but was squashed and forgotten seamlessly as soon as MURS got his stage call. “In order to get along in life I think you have to have a very short memory.”
It works, and most importantly it works for the listener. We could be best friends till the cows come home and make good music. But I want them to give a fuck if we get along or not.
Is it still nerd rap or sitcom hip hop?
It’s not your typical inner-city rap. I’m a little geekier than I should be. I came from a single parent household and I I was an ‘at-risk’ youth as they call it in America.
You and Kurupt killed it on the Roscoes track. You can paint a good picture of coming home to your local waffle house. Was it the love of their food that prompted you two to pair up and rap about Roscoes?
He was really open to doing it and we met through a mutual friends of ours Terrance martin. When I called him he was like, yeah come get get me. Come to the house, here talk to Daz on Skype. I wanted him to rap on Fornever, he wanted to rap on Roscoes. I couldn’t decide which one. He said, ‘fuck decidin’ imma rap on both!’ he was just happy to chill out and be in the studio with 9th Wonder. Now when I see him it’s all love. We homeboys now.
When you were here last, did you check out any local artists, live shows, CDs? What do you think of our scene?
I have A-Love’s album, Bliss N Eso’s album, Funkoars’ album, Muph N Plutonic’s record. I just did a track with Hyjak N Torcha. Torcha came over with his wife and his mates. We shot a video on the beach, I don’t know if it came out, its a song called ‘No Regrets’ I fuck with a lot of people – Hilltop Hoods, Brad Strut. Delta is a brother to me. I have a lot of respect for the independent scene in Australia.