Thu, 18 Jun 2015 12:37:03
Los Angeles rap trailblazer and Paid Dues founder on Have A Nice Life, Strange partnership, his literary tastes, and more.
Murs brought the world a gift with his latest full-length album, Have a Nice Life [Strange Music], and it's not just the birthday cake adorning the cover—although that is pretty cool too. The veteran Los Angeles MC, Paid Dues Festival visionary, and all-around hip-hop spokesperson weaves together a powerful and personal narrative over the course of the record's 14 tracks. It's his most immersive and inventive work to date. So, we decided to talk to him about Have a Nice Life, signing to Strange Music, what he's been reading, and so much more in this exclusive interview.
How did you approach Have a Nice Life?
I recorded 40 to 50 songs and then chose from the entire batch. Overall, my goal was to make a record of love for the people that was easily accessible sonically. I think it came together as an overall theme, but without planning for that at all. My goal was just to record the best group of songs I could.
Lyrically, were there any pervasive themes?
It's really whatever is on my mind at the time. Those thoughts and feelings are what influences me. I had an idea for "Okey Dog" for a while. I didn't know what it sounded like until I heard the music and I had a moment of inspiration though. When I hear the right music, it often comes. A song like "Skatin Through the City" was based on hearing the beat and, in first ten seconds, I had the hook.
It's interesting you had the lyrical idea for "Okey Dog" for a while, but it took the music to bring the song out of you.
I have been wanting to tell this story for quite some time. I began each verse, and I had some of it written down about two or three years ago.
What's the story behind "PTSD" [feat. E-40]?
It was a beat done by Curtiss King. That came together a while after he was sending beats back between myself and my best friend Terry. Since Jesse Shatkin produced the album, we also wanted his input on the beat trading process. There was this one particular beat that they both really liked. It had a more up-tempo double-time feel. I originally didn't really like it, but they encouraged me to give it a shot. One night I was on tour with ¡Mayday!, and this photographer wanted to get on stage and take pictures. I didn't allow him, and then he copped an attitude. He mocked me, and then I kind of lost it a bit and went to bed furious. The next day, I was driving the van and put that beat on and went for it. E-40 brought something incredible to it. He's the greatest guy and an amazing MC.