Murs | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Of all the one-MC-one-producer collaborations I've heard in recent years--MF Doom and Danger Mouse, Aceyalone and Rjd2, Common and Kanye--Murs and 9th Wonder have the most natural chemistry. On the new Murray's Revenge (Record Collection), their second full-length, 9th's lilting, soul-driven beats set a mellow mood that lets Murs's confrontational, self-revelatory rhymes pull you in gently but doesn't dilute his cocky magnetism. And while Murs doesn't spin strictly autobiographical tales this time out--there aren't any songs dedicated to women who've given him blow jobs--he's still just as frank and perceptive. He can take hip-hop staples such as women, race, and the shoot-'em-up gangsta mystique and find the real-life details beneath the hackneyed stereotypes. "D.S.W.G. (Dark Skinned White Girls)," a sort-of sequel to "And This Is For . . ." from Murs 3:16, looks at white girls who act black (and vice versa) with sympathy and acceptance: "You say 'Girrrrrl' / Roll your eyes twist your neck / But it comes from the soul it don't mean no disrespect." And "Dreamchaser" is in part a look at how kids romanticize ghetto violence: "I play Pop Warner and I love Transformers / But you see the big homie standin' out on the corner? / He got real guns, not the ones from GI Joe / He feared and respected like everywhere we go." In terms of consistency, Murs is becoming the Jay-Z of independent hip-hop--everything he touches is a banger. Although 9th Wonder has appeared with Murs on this tour, he won't be performing here. Supreeme, Serengeti, Haiku, and the Aristacats open. Sun 4/16, 9 PM, Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace, 773-478-4408 or 866-468-3401, $12 in advance, $14 at the door, 18+.

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