I have always enjoyed Murs for his storytelling ability. Some rappers (most rappers) rely on punch lines and aimless verses while others are capable of engaging listeners in a way that ending a song early is like prematurely closing a book. After two decades of ruling the independent hip-hop scene, Murs has released Love and Rockets Vol. 1: The Transformation, which consists of thirteen collaborative tracks with producer Ski Beatz under Dame Dashâ€™s new record label.
Love and Rockets is a display of each artistâ€™s strongest attributes. Once again, Murs proves that he is able to have fun while reconstructing each track into a consuming story of love, west coast living, or the problems with todayâ€™s music industry. Ski Beatz provides an eclectic range of tenacious beats to match the energy that Murs brings to each track.
The album kicks off with â€œEpic Salutations,â€ that, under the tight command of Ski Beatz, plays out like a hardcore rap anthem, but instead sports a fastidious testimony by Murs and exemplifies the confidence he has in his own style:Â â€œTake the boy out the hood/ Not the hood out the rocket man/ Trying to make the most out of this galaxy they locked me in/ They cannot box me in/ Iâ€™ve traveled light-years/ Cartridges of courage â€˜cause weâ€™re loaded up to fight fear.â€
The twelve tracks that follow are all solid examples of polished beats and a flow intertwined with plenty of positive messages and industry bashing lines, which Murs has clearly perfected over time. Though, there are hints of familiarity in tracks like â€œRemember 2 Forget,â€ another break-up song to add to Mursâ€™s repertoire, and â€œAnimal Style,â€ an unconcealed tale of two oppressed characters, this time dealing with homosexuality.
Perhaps there is no real transformation found in Love and Rockets, since each artist does not diverge from their strong suits and comfort zones. Luckily, Murs shows no sign of letting up or selling out, and in hip-hop, avoiding that sort of transformation is the greatest accomplishment of all.