Keith Murray He's Keith Murray

Ever since he added the word "beautifulest” to the hip-hop lexicon about a decade ago, Keith Murray has been something of a paradox. While his energetic flow and association with EPMD alumni Erick Sermon and the rambunctious Redman can tag him as an MC looking for a party, the trials and tribulations of his personal life have never lingered far behind in his work. On He’s Keith Murray, this situation isn’t much different. While his collaborations with Def Squad homies Sermon and Redman and "Da Ba Dunk Song” a dubious ode to the female posterior show his hedonistic side, album opener "The Carnage” and "Christina” where he revisits the deaths of his immediate family members show the depth and maturity that has crept into his music. However the vocabulary of existing and self-conjured words that initially set him apart only appears occasionally and some producers don’t do him any favours. For "Candi Bar” he’s handed the same track the same producer gave the Rascalz for "Movie Star” and the Trackmasters’ offering sounds eerily similar to the "Dr Knockboot” track they hooked up for Nas a few years back. However, these issues pale into insignificance given the fact Murray has already been dropped from the Def Jam roster for allegedly assaulting a label employee. This comes after just finishing a jail sentence for a similar offence. While the genuine nature of Murray’s personal tribulations are the album’s saving grace, in real life they are proving to be significant obstacles. (Def Jam)