Keith Murray - Rap-Murr-Phobia (The Fear of Real Hip-Hop)

Posted 9 years ago
Tags: Keith Murray,

Who is hip-hop’s most frightening man? Who would you least want to meet in a dark alley?...

Rap-Murr-Phobia (The Fear of Real Hip-Hop) Album Review

Who is hip-hop’s most frightening man? Who would you least want to meet in a dark alley? The first name that comes to mind is 50 Cent, but his bodybuilder physique makes him more comic book character than man, plus if you were his best friend he’d want you around all the time. Suge Knight certainly deserves mention, he did almost drop Vanilla Ice off a 10th floor balcony, but unless you’re unfortunate enough to share a jail cell with Shug he’s out of the picture. Allow me to nominate Keith Murray for the title. His eternally young baby face may not immediately intimidate, but hear me out.

Let’s start at the end; the last track on Murray’s new album Rapp-Murr-Phobia (Fear of Real Hip-Hop) is called Late Night. On the track Murray talks about kidnapping a man, torturing and killing him, then cutting his body into pieces with a chain saw, all with disturbing calmness. Gun threats are a dime a dozen, Murray’s coming at you with construction equipment. Such hyper-violence is more entertainment than reality (let’s hope), but Murray’s anger issues are well documented. Rapp-Murr-Phobia is his attempt to comeback after serving significant jail time and being dropped from Def Jam for choking an employee. Who’s afraid of Keith Murray? I am, and you better believe I’m not the only one.

Ultimately, Murray’s dismissal from a major label is for the best. His new found independence has allowed him to return to the basics with rawer lyrical content and beats supplied almost entirely by Def Squad running mate Erick Sermon. He’s no longer the most beautifulest MC in the world, but he still has plenty of lyrical ammunition to fire at the legions of pop-rappers flooding the airwaves. Besides being one of my new favorite song titles ever, Da F**kery has Murray rhyming over a subtly funky beat with the same intelligent force he was displaying ten years ago. Murray delivers another much needed slap to the face of commercial hip-hop on the track What It Is, but he’s overshadowed by the relentless lyrical pacing of Method Man. It seems that time has drained some of Murray’s energy on the mic and while it’s only a subtle difference, it’s enough to keep the album just short of truly memorable.

The years haven’t blunted Murray’s trademark off-beat sense of humor and extensive vocabulary. Weeble Wobble is the lead single off Rapp-Murr-Phobia, a track with a staggering beat that allows Murray to ruminate on his drug tolerance. Those of us born in the 80’s will remember that weebles wobble but they don’t fall down. It’s an oddly appropriate slogan for a man who’s seen the hardest of times and lived to rap about it. Whatmakeani**athinkdat is Murray at his lyrical best, you’ve got to be impressed anytime an MC effectively rhymes “yogurt,” and the relatively unknown guest artist Lil Jamal has the necessarily raspy voice to carry the track.

When Murray draws from his life experiences he lays down incredibly compelling narratives. Hustle On adopts a distinctly reggae vibe while Murray recounts the survival tactics of his early days with deft lyrical skill. When Murray says the industry had a fear of real hip-hop this is the kind of unadulterated, uncompromised track he’s talking about. The entire album is a significant departure from he majority of hip-hop; there’s nary a chorus to be found, the hooks are few and far between, and Murray swears more than…well, no one swears as much as Keith Murray. The only track on the album likely to receive serious radio attention is Nobody Do It Better, a Tyrese assisted cut that pairs Murray’s hard style with a soulful vibe. This could be the track that brings Murray back into the public eye, though without major label support it’s going to be a steep climb.

On Rapp-Murr-Phobia Murray resembles an aging boxer who’s lost some of his punching power but is still capable of reminding the crowd of his former brilliance. He’s can’t fight with the heavyweights anymore, but he’s going to die swinging, and those are the fighters you really should be scared of.

DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins

Written by
Posted 9 years ago
Get The PLUG app by DJBooth and get the best hip-hop writing and news delivered daily.

Sample Text - Sample Link

More from Keith Murray

Featured Video

Hip Hop News

D.R.A.M. “Big Baby D.R.A.M.” 1 Listen Album Review

D.R.A.M.'s debut album isn't flawless but it's full of fun, love and joy. Read More
Posted one day ago by Yoh

“Rick Grimes is Dead,” According to Murs’ Latest Video

The veteran emcee capitalizes off of the most popular TV show in the country with a zombie-filled quickstrike release. Read More
Posted one day ago by Brent Bradley

Joe Budden’s “Rage & The Machine” is a Reminder He’s a Great Emcee

On his latest album, Budden displays the lyrical and conceptual skills that made fans love him in the first place. Read More
Posted one day ago by Brent Bradley

Nas’ Album Isn’t Done Yet, But You Should Be Excited About It

Jay Z’s long-time A&R and the guy who signed Kanye is working on Nas’ new album—and that’s good news for everyone. Read More
Posted one day ago by Andy James

Chance The Rapper Releases “How Great” Video, But It’s Not That Great

The video serves as a reminder that no artist is perfect, and everyone has the occasional misfire. Read More
Posted about 2 days ago by Brent Bradley

Get to Know TDE’s Lance Skiiiwalker & The True Meaning Behind “Introverted Intuition”

Lance Skiiiwalker is no longer TDE's John Doe, but an artist with a bold creative vision. Read More
Posted about 2 days ago by Yoh




Discover the best new songs, videos, and albums added to the Booth.