Listening to this man, you can’t help but be reminded where hip hop came from. His lyrics are sharp and clever, and his delivery and showmanship is excellent to say the least. Keith Murray is a blast from the not so distant past that could remind you of the days when artists used to impress fans with fierce lyrical skill and wit; an artist from the days when we used to rewind verses to hear the flow again. Keith Murray is a powerful lyricist, and a powerful energy jumping back on the scene promoting his new album, “Rap-Murr-phobia”. The album is in stores July 31st.
MVRemix: Coming from an older school of hip hop, what’s your take on contemporary hip hop out right now?
Keith Murray: It’s contemporary. That’s just what it is; contemporary hip hop.
MVRemix: So you’re at peace with today’s hip hop?
Keith Murray: I’m a fan of hip hop in general. Who am I to say that this person ain’t as talented as me because he don’t have the same lyrical depth that I do. I respect everyone out there making a living for themselves. I’m all for a variety in hip hop.
MVRemix: With your return, how do you feel your sound fits in with today’s music?
Keith Murray: I’m bringing equilibrium into the game. You wanna hear some ingenious vocabulary - with the metaphors and them hardcore beats then you come to the Def Squad. If you wanna snap your fingers and stuff then you go over there. But we all in the same clubs rocking. My shit come on and rocks, they shit come on and rocks.
MVRemix: Does any particular song on your current album stick out to for any reason?
Keith Murray: Every joint on there is banging to me and they’re all significant ‘cause my mood and how I feel - and how def they are. [Erick Sermon] produced the majority of the album and put a lot effort in there.
MVRemix: Eric Sermon produced the whole album?
Keith Murray: E did most of the tracks, about 98%. Then we got my boy Mike City from LA, and another producer named Shuko from Germany. Yeah, we built this album from hi hat to snare, from kick drum to bass line - from sentence to words and paragraphs to hooks to rhymes. So every song is significant.
MVRemix: Describe the lyrical substance in this album.
Keith Murray: It has real subject matter on there. I’m not just battle rapping all day although that is one of my specialties - and there’s a lot of that on there - talking shit. But there a lot of subject matter in there and I’m doing it in a tasteful manner, you know.
MVRemix: Your creative process: Are you the type to freestyle most of your material and work it into a song or are you more the sit down and deliberate with a pen and pad type of dude?
Keith Murray: I’m a universal architect - you know there’s many different ways how I go about things. The thought is sparked in many different ways. I may have 1 line, hear a beat and work that 1 line into a song - or I may have a song already written to a beat, then switch it and put it to another beat, you know what I’m saying - and the mood of the beat will direct my brain creatively to start a rhyme.
MVRemix: I read something in your bio about Coca Cola. What’s your affiliation with the Coca Cola campaign?
Keith Murray: Oh, I did that a while ago. I just did an overdub for their commercial.
MVRemix: How would you say the game has changed since you last been on the scene?
Keith Murray: Well - it expanded. 4 years ago hip hop was still at a height. Now, it’s in decline and it’s getting battered. I reading USA Today, I’m reading XXL...
MVRemix: And MVRemix…
Keith Murray: Oh, most definitely - I read it all and I’m hearing what’s going on. Middle America ain’t buying into to rap no more because they tired of the violence and the bling and the gangsterisms and they can see right through it. Well God damn, we been preaching that bullshit our whole career! Now ya’ll just waking up? Now it’s turning the tide to where people want to hear more creative artists. Well “Rap-Murr-phobia” come out July 31st - peep the ingenuity.
MVRemix: Speaking about violence and the recent focus on the negativity in hip hop, what’s your take on the issue?
Keith Murray: Man - fuck Al Sharpton, fuck [Don Imus], fuck the government, fuck Oprah, just fuck whoever the fuck….fuck ‘em all! Now we making a living doing for ourselves what they didn’t do for us. They gonna come at us but at the same time they gonna go after white people for the shaping and molding of buffoonery in hip hop? Nobody’s gonna be happy with nothing. They just got right now - a situation where they can point a finger at somebody. Fuck ‘em all! Rap-Murr-phobia.
MVRemix: What personal battles did you have to overcome in your career?
Keith Murray: First of all - nobody loves you - so get that shit out your head. Niggas, when you down - they kick you. When you feed ‘em, they bite your hand. They’ll lie, cheat and steal on you because you in a position to make money for yourself, and at a place where they wanna’ be. So they smile in your face like, ‘Yo, we love you Murray!’. You don’t love me! First chance you get you gonna’ bite me in my motha’ fuckin’ back. Man they look at you like a piece of steak! Don’t fucking think for 1 minute that these people love you. Then they like Murray’s finished he ain’t gonna’sell another record - now I got another record! Then they like, ‘Oh, man - he ain’t gonna sell’, when I’m on Koch - I can sell 50,000 and get paid. These niggas ain’t your friend!
MVRemix: I hear you, and it’s so true. On this album, what can we expect?
Keith Murray: Energy, Magnetism, vocabulary - hard drum beat - a full length album song to song to get you through your existence ‘till I come out again.
MVRemix: It probably should’ve been one of my first questions but what put you on to hip hop from the beginning?
Keith Murray: My uncle the original b-boy T-Roy. Yup, from Roosevelt, LI. He was a prime example. He was the first person I listened to and be like, ‘Yo - how he do that?’. He just made sense with rhymes. And be original - and memorize your shit. And don’t be spittin’ your rhymes everywhere because people will just pick up off your talent and then run with it. Yeah, my uncle taught me everything I needed to know - then I met Erick Sermon and then it was a wrap! Rap-Murr-phobia!
MVRemix: Any parting words or anything you want to plug?
Keith Murray: Yeah - the album come out July 31st. I got the new single featuring Tyrese - called “Nobody Do It Better” produced by Erick Sermon. It’s on BET now - go vote for that. We got joints for females too but they ain’t like love ballads.