Murs Love & Rockets Vol. 1: The Transformation

Murs Love & Rockets Vol. 1: The Transformation
If producer Ski Beatz (formerly DJ Ski and before that, MC Will-Ski of Original Flavor) were a point guard, he'd be prone to hot streaks where everything he touches goes swish and long droughts that leave him inactive. From 1996 to '98, Ski helped orchestrate three great NYC rap LPs: Jay-Z's Reasonable Doubt, Camp Lo's Uptown Saturday Night and Sporty Thievz' hidden gem, Street Cinema. Years later, Ski has re-teamed with business partner Damon Dash and returned to his prolific ways, knocking out two 24 Hour Karate School compilations and hitting the studio to handle projects for Curren$y, Jean Grae, Ras Kass and Joell Ortiz. Love & Rockets blends Ski's decidedly Eat coast boom-bap beats with the everyman introspection of West coast vet Murs, who's no stranger to the one MC, one beatsmith formula, having already worked with 9th Wonder on three albums. After a one-record stint with Warner (2008's Murs for President), Ski helps the 33-year-old storyteller return to the independent realm in which he's comfortable. Love brings purist prose, and there's a lot of rap about rap. Murs shows respect for the culture ("Hip Hop and Love"), pays homage to the Left coast ("Eazy E") and blasts sell-outs ("Life and Times"). But Murs is at his best when he lets his emotions get the best of him. On "Remember 2 Forget," the done wrong lover fires at his ex in bitterness: "I quit you, you can't quit me/I was the one who set you free/Oh, I see, you got some new/ Do they know you could never be true?/That they will never get to know the real you?" Plus, the shout-outs to Toronto's "bomb-ass roti" and Vancouver's "fly-ass girls" on "International" put Murs in another chapter of our good books. (DD172)