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One the most charismatic MCs in the L.A. underground, Murs got his start as one-third of the group 3 Melancholy Gypsys (with Eligh and Scarub), which was later integrated into the West Coast collective Living Legends. Developing an everyman MC persona who told accessible story-raps rooted in quotidian reality, Murs began branching out from the acclaimed group with solo work. A string of underground releases in the late '90s further built his reputation, and, in the 2000s, he expanded creatively, teaming with Slug of Atmosphere for two LPs, collaborating with super-producer 9th Wonder, and gaining wide exposure for releases on Definitive Jux (The End of the Beginning) and Warner Bros. (Murs for President). He moved to Tech N9ne's Strange Music in the 2010s and continued to issue respected work. Born Nicholas Carter in South Central, Los Angeles, Murs first appeared as a solo artist in 2003, after nearly a decade of working with various groups in the underground. His first single was released in 1993, and came from a self-released album by his first group, 3 Melancholy Gypsys. The track barely made a dent, but it did catch the attention of indie hip-hop fans in the area. Over time, the group members became friends with Mystik Journeymen, who asked 3MG (their shortened name) to join them when they started the Living Legends collective in 1996. Between both 3MG and Living Legends, Murs rapped on several influential indie rap albums, appearing on more than 20 records, EPs, and singles within a seven-year period. When El-P started to pull together his Def Jux label, Murs contacted the producer and told him he would release his solo record for the company once he had the opportunity. His commitments to both the Legends and 3MG often kept him from working on the album, but after a few years of slowly putting together tracks, Murs finally delivered The End of the Beginning in the spring of 2003. Featuring flashier production than his group projects, the album was more in tune with a mainstream hip-hop record, though projects with Anticon rapper Slug under the name Felt -- A Tribute to Christina Ricci and A Tribute to Lisa Bonet -- unveiled a more experimental side to his artistry. The rapper returned to solo work with Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition, a collaboration with producer 9th Wonder, in 2004. One of the tracks from that album, "Walk Like a Man," inspired a movie starring Murs himself, along with Damien Wigfall. The soundtrack, Walk Like a Man, also appeared in mid-2005. Murs teamed up again with 9th Wonder to release Murray's Revenge in 2006. Two years later, he jumped to the majors for a contract with Warner Bros., which yielded Murs for President, with appropriately major-label features for and Snoop Dogg. Another two years later, Murs reunited with 9th Wonder to make Fornever. His 2011 effort, Love + Rockets, Vol. 1: The Transformation, was produced solely by Ski Beatz, while 2012's The Final Adventure found him partnering with 9th Wonder for one last album. In 2013, he signed with Tech N9ne's label Strange Music. A year later he collaborated with Strange label regulars Mayday! on the album ¡Mursday! His solo debut for the label followed in 2015 when Have a Nice Life landed with guest shots from Slug, Mayday!, and Ces Cru. He closed the year with his sixth collaboration with 9th Wonder, Brighter Daze. The next year, Murs broke the Guinness World Record for longest nonstop rapping when he spit over 24 hours of rhymes in October 2016. Months later, he released the single "GBKW (God Bless Kanye West)," a dramatic piano-and-strings track about mental health awareness and the struggles of surviving the streets. The song appeared on his 2017 release Captain California. Peaking in the Top 25 of the Billboard Independent chart, the album featured the single "Lemon Juice" with Curtiss King, as well as guests Rexx Life Raj and Krizz Kaliko. A year later, Murs returned with A Strange Journey Into the Unimaginable.
© Bradley Torreano & Neil Z. Yeung /TiVo


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