Murs (born Nick Carter) has been around the proverbial block when it comes to the rap game. Not only has the veteran been involved in the music industry for almost two decades, he also happens to hold a Guinness World Record; last year, Murs rapped for 24 hours straight, the longest rap marathon ever.
Now, the 38-year-old adds Captain California to his ever-growing body of accomplishments, a socially conscious album infused with groovy cuts and adept storytelling. In a hip-hop rendition of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet ("Shakespeare on the Low"), Murs chronicles the lives of two star-crossed lovers who come from rival gangs, as opposed to contending families: "Red weave, and red shoelaces / She must not know I hang around them blue places," raps the emcee.
He continues his politicized storytelling throughout, addressing the impacts of gentrification in California ("G Is for Gentrify") and the heavy realities facing African-American men ("GBKW (God Bless Kanye West)"). "1000 Suns," an endearing song about Murs' marriage, lightens the album without detracting from the rapper's social commentary.
Captain California's production matches its high-grade lyricism. On "Lemon Juice," Murs' balanced flow is guided by boom-bap percussion, while a subdued yet funky bass meanders throughout. "Colossus," produced by DJ Rek, boasts a more menacing melody that keeps up with the song's dope-dealing theme.
Overall, Murs' tenth solo album showcases why he's had a long career with a dedicated fan base, and adds another pin to the emcee's decorated lapel. (Strange Music)