Murs – Yumiko: Curse of the Merch Girl album review

I love concept albums. Concept albums, when properly executed are stand-alone works of art. Because their premise is self-contained, they aren’t bound by context the way other albums might be. With a strong central theme, concept albums tend to by tighter in focus, so pound for pound, they tend to pack a little more intellectual punch than traditional structures. And as far as hip hop concepts, comic book integration has provided some of the most fruitful source material, for example Ghostface Killah’s 12 Reasons to Die with producer Adrian Younge, which dropped earlier this year, and was packaged with a comic book.

Rapper Murs is taking that idea one step further with Yumiko: Curse of the Merch Girl.  The collaborative project began as the idea of rapper Murs and comic book writer Josh Blaylock. Murs, a lifelong fan of comic books, met Blaylock briefly (who happened to be a fan of Murs’ music) at several comic book conventions, and soon after began talking about working on something together. They came up to write a story that could be told through the pages of a graphic novel as well as a hip hop album. Because of the scope of the project, Murs and Blaylock couldn’t secure backing from a record label, so they turned to Kickstarter to let fans fund the production of a full-length album and full-color 100-page graphic novel. In response, over 30,000 dollars was raised to produce Yumiko: Curse of the Merch girl, and the finished product was released to supporters and fans July of 2012. Fast forward to 2013, and now the album has gotten a proper release through a distribution deal with Duck Down Music.

So now, a much larger audience will get to experience Yumiko, the tale of a girl who works the merchandise table on tour with her boyfriend’s band. Without giving too much away the story ends with a clash of the cosmic forces of good and evil. Each song in Murs’ album corresponds to a chapter in the graphic novel by Blaylock, and Murs’ lyrics appear throughout the book. With tight integration like this, the album can stand alone regardless if you read the graphic novel. Murs stays strictly on-topic with his rhymes, while still managing to draw some universal parallels between the characters and real life, touching on topics such as, loyalty, materialism, belief in a god or gods, and self-reliance, a theme which is particularly resounding given the highly DIY nature of the album. While fairly short at only 10 tracks, the album makes up for this in lyrical density and through determined musical progression. DJ Foundation creates an evocative yet unobtrusive backdrop for every chapter in story, and sets the tone throughout. The album starts out with mellow boom-bap and builds in intensity up to the finale, a sprawling, techno-infused epilogue, which lets you know the ride is over And Yumiko is a ride that’s every bit engaging as it is entertaining. So hope for more comic book hip hop like this, because the stories that make for enticing graphic novels translate well into satisfying albums in an age where a lot of music that costs a lot more than $30,000 to make so severely lacks meaning or inspiration.


The White Mandingos – The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me album review

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.


The White Mandingos – Mandingo Rally video

The White Mandingos just dropped a provocative video for “Mandingo Rally”. As Murs rails against the dominant hip hop culture he cycles through several wardrobe changes, expressing the identity crisis of album narrator Tyrone White. Shit gets real when Murs wanders through the city wearing Klan robes.

The band also just revealed album art and tracklisting for The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me, out June 11th on Fat Beats

1. The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me

2. Black-N-White

3. Warn A Brotha

4. Wifey

5. King Of New York

6. Black Girl Toof

7. I Don’t Understand

8. My Weapon

9. My First White Girl

10. Guilty Of Being White

11. What You Waitin’ On?

12. I Like You

13. Wesley Snipes

14. Mandingo Rally

15. Too Late


The White Mandingos “The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me” video

The White Mandingos “The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me” video

The White Mandingos (Murs, Darryl Jenifer of Bad Brains, and Sacha Jenkins) have lent some visuals to the title track of their debut album “The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me” . The Jason Goldwatch directed clip sets the stage for the concept album’s sociologically acute narrative about Tyrone White, a rock frontman living in Harlem’s Polo Grounds housing project.

Press Releases

Murs, Darryl Jenifer (of Bad Brains), & Sacha Jenkins are “THE WHITE MANDINGOS”




West Coast veteran rhyme-slayer Murs, Bad Brains founding member Darryl Jenifer, and Ego Trip co-creator Sacha Jenkins SHR have teamed up to form The White Mandingos, announcing the release of their debut full length, The Ghetto is Tryna Kill Me, on June 11th, 2013 through Fat Beats. The album is a hugely ambitious concept record told from the perspective of Tyrone White, a rock band frontman from Harlem’s Polo Grounds housing project. Jenifer and Jenkins production style is boundless, blurring the boundaries separating hip hop, hardcore punk, metal, and R&B, providing the album’s narrative with a vivid, enveloping sonic backdrop.

The album’s foregrounded confrontation with issues of race and identity is informed by Jenkins’ background as a writer and satirist. “I think a lot of folks will be able to relate to Tyrone and his struggles,” Jenkins says. “He feels misunderstood- by his women, his friends, his people. And that misunderstanding sometimes affects who he is and who he truly wants to be. Should he not be playing this music because he’s black? And who the hell is in the position to tell him what to do anyways?” In the end the listener will truly understand Rakim’s adage, “It ain’t where ya from, it’s where ya at.”

Press Releases

9th Wonder Announces Albums with Buckshot & Murs, Both Out November 13th

9th Wonder Announces Albums with Buckshot & Murs, Both Out November 13th

9th Wonder & Buckshot ‘The Solution’

Murs & 9th Wonder ‘The Final Adventure’

Video of 9th Wonder, Buckshot & Murs Discussing the Project:

Official Press Release:
Grammy award winning producer 9th Wonder is set make November 13th a landmark day in his illustrious career, releasing collaborative albums with Murs and Buckshot simultaneously. The Final Adventure with Murs will serve as the last installment from the popular series that has spanned five projects. The Solutionis the third effort from New York legend Buckshot alongside 9th, who will continue to release more albums together in the future.

“9th Wonder & I have always had good chemistry together. This will be our third collaborative album together and it’s fittingly entitled The Solution,” explains Buckshot. The Solution is “you” because you are the solution to all your problems and to your success or failure…it lies within yourself.”

Murs also provided insight on what the experience of working with 9th Wonder has been like, and why it was time to bring the ever popular series to a close.

“I am honored and blessed to have had the privilege of working with my brother 9th Wonder for five albums and nearly a decade. A type of consistency rarely seen in the music world. We are two very different and strong willed individuals whose love for music and hip hop culture creates a beautiful common ground. I think the fans can feel the love and respect we have for the game and for one another. And I feel that’s why they in turn have continued to show us the same through the years. So why end it here and now? Why is this The Final Adventure? Well there are many individual reasons but overall we both just felt that it was time.”

Known for his extensive work as part of Little Brother, as well as a collaborator with Jay-Z, Destiny’s Child, Erykah Badu and many more, 9th Wonder spoke on releasing two different projects on the same day.

“I think this is the best way to take two separate brands, one I have built with Murs and one that I have built with Buckshot, and not only expose both audiences to each other, but to take those two audiences together with the sounds that I built with the artists, and expose that to the world,” said 9th Wonder. “This is a great day for myself, Murs and Buckshot, because we make the music we believe in for the people who believe in it.”

Murs & 9th Wonder ‘The Final Adventure’ via It’s A Wonderful World Music Group/Traffic Entertainment/KGMG and 9th Wonder & Buckshot ‘The Solution’ via Duck Down Music, will both be released on November 13th.


Murs – 3:16 Ways video

Murs – 3:16 Ways video

Produced by Ski Beatz

Press Releases

IT’S A SLAM DUNK! EA SPORTS NBA LIVE 10 IN STORES NOW Check out the NBA Live 10 Artist Tournament Featuring Xzibit, Murs, B.o.B, and more Download NBA LIVE 10 Mixtape With DJ Mick Boogie

IT’S A SLAM DUNK! EA SPORTS NBA LIVE 10 IN STORES NOW Check out the NBA Live 10 Artist Tournament Featuring Xzibit, Murs, B.o.B, and more Download NBA LIVE 10 Mixtape With DJ Mick Boogie

DJ Skee interviews Murs, Xzibit, Willy Northpole, Jay Rock, B.o.B., Dre and Vidal, DJ Quik and his son David as they play NBA Live 10.
EA Sports NBA Live 10 Game Tournament – Who wins?

NBA LIVE®10 is now available in stores for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system, PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft.

Download the free NBA Live 10 mixtape by Mick Boogie featuring music from Xzibit, Murs, B.o.B, Mickey Factz, David Banner, De La Soul, Snoop Dogg, and others.

Mixtape Download:

EA Sports NBA LIVE 10 MIXTAPE with DJ Mick Boogie
01. Mick Boogie “Intro”
02. Mick Boogie featuring Kidz In The Hall, Donnis & Daytona “Class Of Our Own”
03. 88 Keys featuring Colin Munroe “Wake Up Call”
04. Dead Prez “Still Bigga Than”
05. Afrika Bambaataa featuring Why G, Mickey Factz & The Fort Knox 5 “Zulu!”
06. Snoop Dogg “Lodi Dodi 2010”
07. Pete Rock “When I Need It”
08. Matt & Kim featuring De La Soul “Daylight”
09. De La Soul “La La La”
10. Mickey Factz & B.o.B. “Mind Got Blown”
11. B.o.B. “Champion”
12. Zion I “Go Hard”
13. Murs featuring Kurupt & Jay Rock “We Ballin'”
14. Laza “Crank It Up”
15. Grand Puba “Get It”
16. David Banner & GQ “S.P.I.T.”
17. Xzibit featuring BJ The Chicago Kid & Poo Bear “Fanatic”

Press Releases



What do Kansas City and Los Angeles have in common? These two cities have given birth to two of the hardest working, lyrically gifted and most respected underground rappers of all time: TECH N9NE and MURS, respectively.

While some hip-hop stars’ popularity rises and falls with the whims of fickle music fans, both TECH N9NE and MURS have consistently been selling scores of CDs and packing venues worldwide. This April, the two indie icons join forces as they embark on “The Sickology 101 Tour 2009,” with special guests Short Dawg Tha Native, Krizz Kaliko and Kutt Calhoun. For more info, check

Boasting a career most rappers strive for, TECH N9NE has consistently proved himself to be one of the hardest working entertainers in the game. In 2008, he reaped the rewards of grindin’: TECH N9NE SoundScanned over 1 million units, making him the most successful independent Hip-Hop artist in history.

With hits like “I’m A Playa,” “Caribou Lou” (which boasts 7.2 million MySpace plays), “Riotmaker,” “Like Yeah” and “Everybody Move,” it’s no wonder he counts a total of over 4.5 million YouTube video plays and an average of 40,000 MySpace visitors each day.

TECH N9NE’s success knows no limits. His July 2008 release, Killer, debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart and Number 12 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart.

2009 doesn’t look to be any different as TECH N9NE and Strange Music prepare to drop the hottest collaboration album of the year, Sickology 101, on April 28, 2009 – powered by the inspiring, in-yo-face anthem “Nothin,’” featuring The Boy Boy Young Mess (Messy Marv) and Big Scoob, as well as the haunting, hypnotic “Red Nose.” Sickology 101 also features lyrical heavyweights, Chino XL, Crooked I and Krayzie Bone.