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Thursday, March 13 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm

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He is the only rapper with his own music festival. Each album he releases sells more than its predecessor. He toured the world without having a major record deal. So, there’s a reason why independent rap stalwart Murs decided to name his major label debut album Murs For President (Love And Rockets). Murs wants to be rap’s leader and spokesperson, the artist who helps give rap a credible face to fans, the media and critics. After all, the Los Angeles rapper is articulate and well read. He doesn’t use drugs and his platform consists of peace, love, unity and having fun. “If you’re going to put idiots like Cam’ron on TV, put me on TV,” Murs says, referring to Cam’ron’s uninformed appearance on 60 Minutes in early 2007. “Let me speak for hip-hop. I’m the one guy who is qualified to represent us to the masses -- which are obviously tired of us because hip-hop can’t sell records. It can only sell ringtones. It’s become a mockery of itself. It’s become club music. For us to lead back into the marketplace and to be a respected art form, I feel that I’m the most qualified person. It’s time for hip-hop to have a change.” From front to back, the eclectic, genre-bending, politically charged, musically adventurous Murs For President illustrates a change of direction for rap. The Rick Rock-produced “Dreadlocks,” for instance, is a hyphy song that will surely earn plenty of burn in clubs and on the radio. Murs also adds a level of sophistication to the future smash, name dropping Marcus Garvey and Haile Selassie in his lyrics with the hope of getting his listeners to do some research on the historical figures. “Everybody has dreads, so I wanted to put out a song to let everyone know what they’re about, and not make it too serious but still slip little things in there,” he says. “So if kids are on the Internet, they’ll know I said Haile Selassie. What is that? From there, they can learn about Ethiopia. I’m still trying to expand and make it practical, not preachy. This is fun, and here’s a little bit of something that can help you expand.” As he has done on his earlier albums -- which include such acclaimed releases as Murray’s Revenge and Murs 3:16 The 9th Edition -- Murs examines his own love life on several Murs For President cuts. The angst-filled “Closure” documents the immediate, often turbulent time when a relationship dissolves, while the soulful “Break Up (The OJ Song)” details the mixed feelings people have once they have some distance from what had been a long-term relationship.

Thursday March 13, 2008 3:30pm - 4:00pm
SESAC Day Stage Cafe Austin Convention Center 500 E Cesar Chavez St

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