Murs Talks Real Rap: "The Only Reason I'll Do an Arena Tour Is Having My Own Private Bathroom to Take a Shit In"
Back in the late '90s, stagnant rap got a righteous kick in the gonads from the whole "backpack" movement.
Now in the 2000s, the hip-hop scene has become rife with repetitive ring-tones and IQ-lowering catch phrases. And there ain't much opposition out there.
Well, unless you're talking about real rappers like Murs, a man who spends his spare time building clean water wells in Africa for impoverished youths.
Yesterday, we here at Crossfade spoke with the hip-hop mastermind about "Making Underground Raw Shit," the current state of the game, and his Paid Dues tour.
-Murs's Road to Paid Dues Tour Coming to The Stage Miami on February 15
- Five Best Concerts in Miami This Week
Crossfade: Let's start off with your charitable work for children in Africa. Since you first traveled to Ethiopia a few years back, what has been the involvement and outcome of your efforts?
Murs: My wife and I currently sponsor three children. Two of whom are young men we met on our first trip. The third is a young girl my wife met on the following trip. Our eldest "son" recently graduated and we are helping him through college. And thanks to Facebook, we're able to communicate with them pretty regularly. There are also plans to build a well for fresh water in their village of Korah. And eventually, we plan to adopt a couple of children from Ethiopia as well.
Is your philanthropy reserved for children in need?
The majority of it is focused on children. We recently adopted a baby boy from North Carolina and should be bringing home a 15-year-old young man from Alabama in June. We also volunteer every summer at a camp for teens with autism. And I speak at high schools from time to time when my tour schedule permits. But outside of our work with kids, my wife and I love working with Habitat for Humanity.
This year marks the third annual Paid Dues habitat build, where 25 kids make a donation and in return get VIP tickets to the festival as well as an opportunity to build a home for a family in need alongside some of the artists on the bill.
I like the all-across-the-map eclectic feel of your work. What stands out for you within your catalog?
My favorite collaborations have to be the series of five records I did with 9th Wonder. I think our chemistry is amazing. In my dreams, I like to compare it to the work of Bernie Taupin and Elton John. Most recently, I recorded an album with Fashawn called This Generation. It reminds me of when Slug and I first started with Felt. I learned so much from him during the recording sessions and the songs are a lot of fun to perform.
Fashawn's currently on this run with me. So if you get the chance to catch us live, you'll get to experience the fun firsthand.
Seeing how we are roughly the same age, I feel an instant connection to your work. It's like a nerdy, hardcore, funk, hip-hop, punk rock party has exploded inside my favorite beer and I know what's going on. When tackling a track or album, what's your process from beginning to end?
It really begins with the music. And whatever the beat reminds me of, that's what I write. On occasion, I will write without music. But it's always been difficult for me to find a beat to fit my lyrics rather than putting lyrics to the beat.