Keith Murray Takes The Beat He Lost To JAY-Z And Makes It His Own Def Jam (Audio)

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Long Island, New York’s DJ Gumba has been bringing the best out of the Keith Murray lately. While the whole Def Squad seems reinvigorated in 2018, Murray has been consistently smashing classic beats nearly every month since January. It seems that Gumba picks crucial tracks he thinks Murray would kill, and the L.O.D. MC goes to work on his take.

He’s jumped on essential hits from the 1980s and 1990s, and while the bars are 100% Murray, he makes sure to show proper love to the original songs and artists in his versions. His freestyle on “Ain’t No Half Steppin” was recorded to celebrate the 30 year anniversary of the Big Daddy Kane single. On his flip of Cypress Hill’s “How I Could Just Kill A Man,” he even adopts B-Real’s cadence. This flow with Murray’s rasp, instead of Real’s nasal tone, sounds more violent and menacing.

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Back to the subject at hand, K.M. and his DJ dropped their retooling of JAY-Z’s “Where I’m From.” Murray gifts listeners with a cool behind-the-scenes tidbit when he starts the cut by stating, “Yo, Gumba, that’s crazy! This that beat that Nashiem had played for me when I was on Def Jam, but I was too slow to purchase it.” He is talking about Nashiem Myrick of the Bad Boy Records production group The Hitmen which also included platinum beat-makers Deric “D-Dot” Angelettie and Ron “Amen-Ra” Lawrence. The track landed on JAY-Z’s 1997’s sophomore, In My Lifetime, Vol. 1, and credited to D-Dot. At the time, Murray was motioning towards ’99’s It’s A Beautiful Thing. That was actually the Central Islip, New Yorker’s last LP at Jive Records, before heading over to Def Jam.

Well, Heads will never know what the song would have sounded had the Def Squad’s loose cannon snapped it up in the 1990s, we do get a Long Island answer to the original Brooklyn anthem. He uses JAY-Z’s hook, but his verses outline the gritty details of his poverty-stricken neighborhood. Regardless of his tirade, you can tell the diminutive rapper is proud of his hometown.

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#BonusBeat: Biz Markie may deserve credit as the first producer to flip this sample. See “Check It Out” from 1989’s The Biz Never Sleeps: