Even without his signature updo dreadlocks, Murs remains recognizable for his dense subject matter and deft lyricism.
For nearly two decades the Los Angeles emcee has been among hip-hop’s underground elite.
As a member of the Living Legends crew – along with Aesop Fables, Bicasso, The Grouch, Eligh, Luckyiam, Scarub and Sunspot Jonz – Murs was a part of what the LA Weekly called one of the biggest success stories in the indie-rap movement, having sold nearly 300,000 units all on their own.
The West Coast rap supergroup released a plethora of solo and group albums through various imprints and toured Europe – completely self-financed. In addition to the Living Legends projects, Murs also released a cluster of solo albums on the indie label Definitive Jux before dropping his major label debut, 2008’s “MURS for President,” on Warner Bros.
In 2005 he took a hand at the director’s chair for “Walk Like a Man” and produced a soundtrack compilation that featured Atmosphere and DJ Z-Trip plus his own material.
Working at a fever pitch, Murs collaborated with Fashawn and 9th Wonder respectively to produce last year’s “This Generation” and “The Final Adventure,” along with solo effort, “Yumiko: Curse of the Merch Girl” and followup EP, “Varsity Blues 2.” He also fronted punk-rock fusion band, The Invincibles. And then there was the experimental duet, Felt, with Slug.
Over the course of seven years Murs appeared on more than 20 albums, EPs and singles.
Known for his socially conscious lyrics and politically charged content, Murs says his stage name stands for, among other things, Making the Universe Recognize and Submit and Making Underground Raw … uh … Stuff.
Murs continued to blaze a trail for world domination on his own after leaving Living Legends last year.
He made headlines when he kissed another man while wearing a “Legalize Gay” shirt in his video for “Animal Style,” in which he calls out homophobes through a story about a high school bullying incident that ends in a murder-suicide.
In a statement about the video, Murs writes: “With this one I wanted to challenge the listener to ask themselves: ‘Is the love shared by two people of the same gender really that different than the love I have for my partner of the opposite sex?’ And finally, I just felt it was crucial for some of us in the hip-hop community to speak up on the issues of teen suicide, bullying, and the overall anti-homosexual sentiment that exists within hip-hop culture. I felt so strongly about these issues and this song that I had to do a video that would command some attention, even if it makes some viewers uncomfortable. Even if it came at the cost of my own comfort.”