Murs & 9th Wonder’s 3:16 Album Set An Everlasting Trend In Hip-Hop (Video)

Collaboration albums between Hip-Hop artists across style, geography, and subject matter have become more commonplace than ever. Creators from aesthetically different sub-genres who have joined forces in the recent past include Madlib and Freddie Gibbs, Vince Staples and No I.D., and Killer Mike and El-P’s 2010s formation of Run The Jewels, just to name a few. These pairings transform distinct artists into something unique, as a unit. With that, there are new possibilities to explore.

The previous decade presented a far more compartmentalized Hip-Hop. In 2004, City of Angels native Murs was building his brand apart from his longtime Living Legends collective. Like many of his band-mates, Murs was known as an ultra-lyrical freestyle MC. He boasted skills worthy of his several acronyms. One was reportedly “Making Underground Raw Sh*t,” while another stated, “Microphones Used Relentlessly and Slaughter.” But the other known meaning of Murs’ stage-name is “Making The Universe Recognize and Submit.” In the latter sense, the DIY MC aimed for recognition as a formidable storyteller and songwriter of all subject matters. So following his first Def Jux LP, The End Of The Beginning, Murs linked with uprising Little Brother member/producer 9th Wonder. Unlike anything else in Murs’ catalog to date, 3:16 The 9th Edition stood apart.

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3:16 The 9th Edition was named after Murs’ March 16 birthday, as well as a clear nod to 9th’s role. It was a lean project that clocked in at 35 minutes spanning 10 songs. The North Carolina producer’s punchy drums and hard-hitting bass were arranged against a wide range of soulful samples. Fresh off of a JAY-Z placement, 9th showed the world he was still about the Underground, and rollin’ with Murray and the Def Jukies. Overall, it was the perfect match that pushed the boundaries of Murs’ complex narrative, pulling inspiration from the likes of Freestyle Fellowship as well as WC’s Maad Circle.

Songs such as “Bad Man” and “The Pain” showed Murs’ humorous side. Like he was in videos, the Mid-City MC was a fully formed character, with an array of subject matters from dating woes to race relations. One of the most poignant songs is “H-U-S-T-L-E,” with WWE champion John Cena spitting a respectable verse in the song’s video version. Murs verses addressed issues with depth. For instance, he tackled the political implications of being a Black MC entertaining an increasingly white audience on “And This Is For.” Other LP highlights include “Walk Like A Man” and the hilarious “Trevor An’ Them.” These exposed a day in the life of an MC indulging in the daily grind to gain proper recognition, while trying his best to avoid the pitfalls of L.A. street culture.

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After 3:16 The 9th Edition received a great deal of praise, 9th and Murs continued to H-U-S-T-L-E their brand of Hip-Hop. 9th soon became a Grammy-winner, while cementing status as one of the game’s best producers. Murs garnered major label interest and dropped several Top 50 projects on the Pop charts.

Together, their collaborative story continued as well. Two years ago, Murs & 9th Wonder released their sixth and final collaborative project Brighter DazeIt served as a curtain call to a great run that brought each of them a wider audience while demonstrating range.

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Two recent albums 9th Wonder worked closely on (Rapsody’s Laila’s Wisdom and Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. are nominated for several Grammy Awards next month, respectively).