From his Living Legends days until now Murs has been a relevant staple in the hip-hop community and culture. He is unapologetically straightforward about all things which made for great conversation about everything from his career to his community. After the show at the Neurolux we walked down to Wetos Locos for arguably the best tacos in town and chopped it up for a bit. This is what he had to say.
Shontelle Reyna: So Maul Dogs was just released, how was that experience?
Murs: Maul Dogs is a movie. I’ve always wanted to do a feature film. We did a short film for Walk Like A Man. We did a Short Film for Murray’s Revenge. I called my homeboys and said let’s make a movie. We made a movie about bowling in South Central and it was fun. May not be the best acting movie but we get in there. We gon’ make another one. We wanted to do something that was not Boyz n the Hood but not Tyler Perry, something that would come out on Redbox and Netflix that would speak to people of color.
SR: In 2006 you partnered with Guerilla Union to launch Paid Dues which did really well, but by 2013 not only Paid Dues but Rock The Bells which is also funded in part by Guerilla Union, were canceled. What do you think this says about the state of hip-hop, especially in comparison to other genre music festivals.
Murs: I think that the existence of Paid Dues and the existence of Rock The Bells, hip-hop was a viable genre. After that everybody wants to break it down. Native America only wants to take the most commercial of hip-hop. Lalapalooza will take the most left of hip-hop. Paid Dues always tried to combine the street, the abstract, the mainstream, all of it into one festival. We’re all the same. I just wanted hip-hop to know that we’re a family. A culture that transcends rock and roll, we transcend EDM. We bring the world together even when religion and politics couldn’t do it, hip-hop has brought an effective change in the world.
When I used to book Paid Dues and I got Odd Future and WU-Tang it was like father and son type of shit happening. Hip-hop bridges all gaps. I feel like without Paid Dues and Rock The Bells that message is missing. We get pimped out by other festivals and I am happy they include any type of hip-hop but to have a complete hip-hop festival that’s what’s missing.
SR: So as far as breaking those boundaries in hip-hop. You’ve mentioned things like race and sexual identity in your music. Do you think that has pushed your career forward as an artist or has it been a detriment?
Murs: I don’t think that the content of the music matters. I think that it’s the quality of your music. I made a song about a homosexual couple and teenage suicide and it didn’t do as well Macklemore’s same sex song but Macklemore made a better song. He made a more pop song. I think if the music is there people will listen. Unfortunately or fortunately, whether its Whoop There It Is or Same Love like Macklemore. If it has a good hook and a good beat people will listen. I think that’s the beauty of music. I don’t think its hurt me being politically outspoken about same-sex marriage or racial equality. I think it’s my desire to be accepted by the mainstream that has hurt me.
SR: You touched on racial equality and the current Black Lives Matter movement a bit in your song No More Control off of the new album, can you expand on your thoughts about it all
Murs: I think Black Lives Matter is bullshit. I think that all lives matter. I think that the Black Lives Matter movement was a perfect opportunity for black people to get liberal white folks that are feeling white guilt to take a look. I’m glad you recognize our struggle but all lives matter we’re equal but to get a white person to stand next to you and say that black lives matter, I feel like were all human beings and we’re all equal. I think we have a lot more things to work out then our differences with the police. Once we are unified we can overcome any hurdle or obstacle.
God forbid African-Americans, as they call us, and Latinos get together because then our power is limitless in this country, but we can’t even do that. Black lives have always mattered because I’m black, my life matters, my kids live’s matter to me. I don’t need to march. Becoming a part of the system and changing it for the better is how you make change, not getting a sign and acting like it’s the 60s. You’re played out.
SR: So you don’t think that getting that sign is being a part of making that change?
Murs: It’s not changing shit. It changed shit in the 60s but it’s not gonna change shit now. That got us to where we are. Don’t go back to a tactic that worked in the 60s and expect it to work in 2015. Social media is the future, a currency that’s relevant throughout all countries. Bitcoin, the things they don’t tell you about in the news. The stuff you don’t see on Worldstar. The things you might have to read a couple of books to understand or listen to a couple of podcasts to understand, is what’s going to change the world. Shout out to Immortal Technique who is really building schools for women in other countries and really doing shit. Get out and do some real shit.