Despite the effort of the Civil Rights Movement and the President being half African, race identity is still a hot-button issue alive and well in America. Not only is racial intolerance persistent, it is pervasive in almost every aspect of our society from politics to dating. More often than not, these conversations are either ignored or blown out proportion by mass media which results in a lack of honest dialogue about the problem.
This is where The White Mandingos step in. Made up of rapper Murs, bassist Darryl Jennifer and Sacha Jenkins SHR of ego trip, the trio come together to address both the racial tension we see today and the stereotypes that arise in music as a result of this tension. This isn’t a hip hop album. It isn’t a rock album either. The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me is built from both genres but qualifies as more than the sum of its parts.
The Mandingos don’t waste time easing the audience into the new sound either. The first song (which shares the name of the album) is fast-driving track with ripping guitar instrumentation and rapid rhymes from Murs. From there, listeners are put on a rollercoaster of music and emotion as the group lay down tunes of different tempos and subject matter. As the main voice of the group, Murs utilizes his crystal clear delivery to speak frankly about everyday race clashes and conceits. ‘Black and White’ is about the stigma and stereotypes that come with being White, Black or any other race and how Murs has no intention of letting people’s pre-conceived notions cramp his style. He speaks about the perils and emotional confusion that comes with interracial relationships in ‘My First White Girl’. ‘Wesley Snipes’ is a discussion on blacks being targeted by the law while ‘Guilty of Being White’ is about the blame that is placed on Caucasians today for sins of the past.
The common theme between all of the songs above and with the rest of the album is honest. Murs presents these topics as bluntly as possible and refuses to beat around the bush on touchy subjects. These insecurities lie in all of our minds and it is a nice breath of fresh air to hear another speak on these common doubts and beliefs (all while listening to some kicking rock in the backdrop).
The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me is quite the experiment by a trio of guys out to kick down the stereotypes of society and music track by track. If you can get down with the message and the sound then this is definitely an album to listen to.