Murs

    {grate 2.5/4}

    Veteran Living Legends emcee Murs — Making Underground Raw Shit — makes his major-label debut this fall with Murs for President, an awkward mainstream transition considering his self-defined indie persona.

    President’s production list promises an expert array of beats; however, bigshots like Keith Harris fall from a once-lofty, self-set benchmark. His gimmicky “Lookin’ Fly” slides into a predictable top-40 formula despite desparate efforts to mash the manic skittering of the Green Hornet theme with recycled insta-beats.

    Fortunately, Murs is occasionally able to break out of the plastic pop veneer. “I’m Innocent” survives on 9th Wonder’s tried-and-true Motown methods, and newcomer Scoop DeVille contributes a polished slate of flute and snare for “The Science,” an easy stroll that pays its dues to Cut Chemist’s stripped-down style.

    The ambitious Michael Jackson sample on “Can It Be” backs an insistent tribute to modest beginnings, but the newly jaded Murs loses a layer of profundity in his Warner Bros. unveiling. While inspirational lines hailing the “power of a pen, power of a vote, power of your words, power of your voice” begin to rally hopefuls, they are followed by words of jumbled wisdom: “Life is like a table, full of, like, glasses of water, and your job is to keep ’em all full, you know what I’m sayin’?” No Murs, not really.

    Murs for President can best be described as unfocused — both in lyrical stamina and the instrumention that hardly holds it up. From racial banter to adolescent observations about Asians “with natural D’s,” it’s not exactly clear whether the sitcom rapper will win the popular vote this time around.

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