Written by: Medski The Prophet
It’s 2017 and a lot has transpired in Hip Hop since Murs first popped up on the underground in the early 2000s with Def Jux representing the left coast. Murs has been consistent throughout, despite being overshadowed lately by newer cats like The Game, and Kendrick Lamar.
Captain California is a strong, but somewhat derivative take on life in So Cal from a grown mans perspective. Well worn topics such as growing up in the hood, getting sweated by gang bangers, baby mama drama, relationships, and hood politics get served up by MURS using a tight, but simplified storytelling flow for the most part.
Production on this LP is handled by DJ Rek and DJ Fresh who do a decent job maintaining the west coast funk using synth heavy beats, sprinkled with piano and guitar licks but never do too much-allowing Murs lyrics to shine.
MURS paints a picture of a LA vet that’s done it all, and seen it all, but does so with a level of creativity not many emcees can match.
On the song, ‘Shakespeare On The Low’ he weaves a tale about love across the (gang) color lines that parallels Romeo and Juliet.
The next track ‘God Bless Kanye West’ is a powerful commentary on the stress of being a black man in LA trying to survive niggas, mexicans, and the po pos chasing him.
‘Colossus’ is told from the pov of a baller on some modern day Freeway Rick type shiz and Murs flows effortlessly over some trappy drums, delivering that aggressive content reminiscent of the hardest TDE rappers (see a theme here?).
The second half of the album follows pretty much the same formula with each track ping ponging from relationships, to hood drama. This all begins to sound a bit samey after a while, and it’s not until ‘G for Gentrify’ that we get to hear MURS spit some philosophical shit about something besides gang banging, main girls and side chicks.
‘Animals Dammit’ is an embarassing attempt at a Good Kid Maad City soundalike track with the guest vocalist even doing his best Kendrick Lamar (alien voice) impression. MURS storytelling is up to par, and this might be the most LA track of all with him name dropping Dorsey High, and Louisiana Chicken.
Overall MURS delivers despite a few hiccups and fans of West Coast Hip Hop won’t be disappointed with his every-man take on LA Life.