A conversation with MURS & Fashawn

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Photo courtesy of MAC Media

West Coast rhyme slingers MURS and Fashawn have joined forces for a joint album called This Generation. This Generation is produced entirely by Beatnik & K-Salaam and will be released by Duck Down Records on September 25.

The first single from This Generation, the futuristic ‘Slash Gordan’ showcases the new duo’s Darryl and Joe-like lyricism with a dash of humor mixed in.

I spoke with MURS and Fashawn about the resurgence of west coast Hip-Hop, their decision to sign with Duck Down Records, and their new album, This Generation.

TRHH: Explain the title of the album This Generation.

Fashawn: This Generation really means that we want to put a magnifying glass on this generation and display how the last one and the future generations might be the same. There is no difference because we all live in the now, which is this generation.

MURS: Whether it’s A$AP Rocky or Schoolboy Q, some people say they sound like they’re from the south but they’re both definitely repping their respective regions. Fash is more of this generation of emcees age wise than I am but I still feel with my art I am. We’re influenced by Scarface, Pimp C, Andre 3K, Nas, Jay-Z, Ice Cube, Suga Free, and DJ Quik so we’re just students of rap in general.

This generation is not separated by coasts. I think rap has finally evolved like with Rock. You can listen to Motley Crue and not tell which coast they’re from and it doesn’t really fucking matter because they’re just making dope music for people. That’s where Hip-Hop should be and where it is now.

TRHH: Why’d you guys decide to record an album together?

MURS: The producers of this record Beatnik & K-Salaam have been sending me beats for a while. I loved them but I was in a cycle and put out a record with Dame Dash at the time and couldn’t do a solo record. They said what about a collaborative thing and Fash’s name came up in the conversation. I thought that was a good idea because I was a fan of his work ethic. Before I work with someone their work ethic is the most important thing–I can be a fan of their music all day. When I booked him for Paid Dues he showed up on time and always did the meet and greets, he just does the work and that was important to me. Musically he definitely raps his ass off, I wasn’t concerned about that. His manager gave me a call on some whole other shit the very next day and we started talking about doing a record. He respected my work as well.

TRHH: Was it a conscious decision to have Beatnik & K-Salaam produce the entire album?

Fashawn: I think that was something that was already decided before we began working on the album. Beatnik & K-Salaam wanted to do MURS’ next album so that’s how it came about.

MURS: Fash’s Boy Meets World was produced by one person and my series with 9th Wonder is produced by one person so we do some of our best work when it’s just one producer.

TRHH: This record is different musically and a little bit lyrically for both of you. Was it a conscious decision to do something different from what you’re both known for?

Fashawn: I wouldn’t say it was a conscious decision. I’m glad that you feel that it’s different. I really think it’s just a progression in both of our musical catalogs. We love making music and this is just another chapter in both of our careers. We both have an extensive catalog but we wanted to do something special, especially for me because this is my first album with another emcee. I’ve done albums with one producer before but never one producer and one emcee. It was a big challenge that I wanted to do and I’m glad that he brought it to my lap, yo!

MURS: I think it may sound different because everything relates back to the music. What Beatnik & K-Salaam were giving us was what Fash calls a Neo/G-Funk sound. Contrary to what category people put us in we’re both inner city kids and at risk youth. We’re young black fatherless kids that grew up around a lot of gang shit, drug shit, and at the same time skateboarding and everything. I think the only thing that changed is the music because if you listen to my earlier stuff I talk about street shit in a more sophisticated manner than the average gangsta rapper. I think the same thing of Fash he’s a lot more eloquent and that’s not what the west coast has been known for in the past. We just gave you raw gangsta rap over G-Funk beats. Everything evolves and I think his term Neo/G-Funk is a good term for this album if you have to label it.

TRHH: Talk about the single ‘Slash Gordan’.

Fashawn: Slash Gordan is a monstrous lyrical assault type record. We didn’t even originally think it was going to be a single or grow the way that it did. That was a song that I enjoyed recording with MURS. We got to vibe in the studio, go back and forth, and hang out and it really shows on the record. The chemistry that you hear on the record is exactly what it was like. It was like a battle almost. He’d drop a bar and I’d have to go back and spit something crazy after that. It went back and forth and it was a wonderful process.

MURS: He summed it up, that back and forth killin’ it.

Fashawn: We definitely wanted to bring back that true presence in rap where niggas are really going in and the flow is harmonious. You can’t tell if it’s me or MURS rapping sometimes. It’s just one continuous flow. We just premiered the video. It’s out of this world.

TRHH: The video was crazy. It looked like it was fun. Was it fun shooting that one?

MURS: Yeah man it definitely was. That’s the best thing about this project. Everything we do is fun. I didn’t know it was going to be so much fun. I can honestly say that I like hanging out with this motherfucker and I can’t say that for a lot of the crews and collaborations that I’ve done in the past.

Fashawn: I can honestly say that was my first time in outer space but it won’t be my last.

TRHH: Why did you choose to release the album on Duck Down?

Fashawn: Duck Down is a brand that I respect and admire. I’ve been a fan of them for years. Their roster is nothing but solid dudes that I can identify with and brothers I been homies with like Sean P, Heltah Skeltah, and Torae. These been my partners for a long time so it’s long overdue for the type of material that we’re producing. It fits well under the umbrella of Duck Down.

MURS: For me, I’ve been doing business with these guys for a few years now with Paid Dues. They’re one of the biggest independent power houses and being that Paid Dues is the biggest indie Hip-Hop concert I had to do business with them. They’ve always done good business with me and above that I just believe that any successful African American has to have a team of people with some type of Hebrew connection. Blacks and Jews fit well together in this industry–it’s no secret. They’re honest guys and they actually pay their bills from what I hear. They have a great understanding of the game. Noah and Dru are really solid dudes. I grew up on Duck Down Records and I respect the hell out of the records.

On the business side they’ve stood the test of time and they’ve had the same artists since the beginning. That says a lot in this industry. Dre left Death Row, Roc-A-Fella is gone but Duck Down is still here. People hop around. It’s like the NBA and shit. It’s been Boot Camp since the beginning. I also know that Sean Price doesn’t take any bullshit and if he has to deal with one of these motherfuckers I might actually get a check.

TRHH: [Laughs] Alright. I caught a little bit of you guys performing at Rock the Bells. Was Rock the Bells the first time you guys performed together?

MURS: San Bernardino was the first time.

Fashawn: Yeah, that was the first time.

MURS: Did it suck?

TRHH: [Laughs] No. First of all I was working so I was bouncing around and only caught the first couple of songs. My boy was there and he said you guys were the best.

MURS: Thanks bro.

Fashawn: That makes a lot of sense.

MURS: That fuckin’ rules, man. Tell that guy I said fuck yeah!

TRHH: I will [laughs]. He’ll appreciate that.

Fashawn: Can we elaborate on him saying fuck yeah [laughs]? I have one rule on stage and that’s to have fun. I might forget the set list but it really doesn’t matter. If I’m not having fun I failed. That’s what we do on stage. Of course we remember our lines because it’s second nature to us but we just want to have fun and make sure the crowd does the same.

TRHH: Is the song ‘Future Love’ based on true stories?

Fashawn: Of course. I’d have to say all the stories on the album are true. They all come from a real place. ‘Future Love’ is a place I’ve arrived at in my life. As a young man and an artist you have to deal with those kinds of things in your personal life. I couldn’t tell you where my personal life begins and public life ends. It’s all the same to me.

MURS: For me it was more of a cautionary tale to young men. I’m a married man but getting here I’ve made some mistakes. I was more rapping about what I’ve seen because I’ve seen niggas fuck off a really good girl and have their lives fucked up. They end up paying child support when they could have calmed down and stayed with the girl. She cooked, she cleaned, and took care of the kids and you still had to go out and fuck around, now you’re paying child support and you got a bitch that’s a fuckin’ idiot.

That’s the story for a lot of my homeboys. They should have just stayed with the first girl they had the baby with and their life would be easier. Now they have three women making their life hard. They fuck around and have a daughter and she’s mad at you ‘cause you’re not with the mom, the mother is mad at you, the girl you’re dating now is mad and jealous of your other two women, and the fourth woman is your mother who is just overall disappointed in you. So think about the love that you have and the love that you lost and the next time you do it, do it right. Also future love for the Hip-Hop community, there needs to be more love in the future.

TRHH: For me it’s ironic that you guys are together for this album because both of you have songs that get me through hard times. Yesterday & Today and Hey Young World, I can throw those on when I’m in the shittiest mood and then I’m good.

MURS: Word up.

Fashawn: When I wrote that song I was homeless. I was inspired by the music, the keys in it. When I wrote that song I was sleeping on my mother’s floor. I needed that. The music saved me. At the end of the day I wanted it to save other people. The music was my medicine. Shout out to Exile for producing that. We recorded that in his garage.

MURS: Man 9th gives me a beat and it just comes to me. A lot of that wasn’t about me. The first verse was based on my homeboy that got locked up. It was about what he was facing and what a lot of my homeboys face trying to get a job. Some of my homeboys work in law offices and are real hood dudes and you got a nigga yelling at you. Even at my job, I worked in a record store and my boss would be yelling at me and I’d be like, “You know what fool, I could really fuck you up. You could go to your car and not come back and no one would know the difference. No one would know it was me. You talk to me like I’m a fuckin’ kid.”

A lot of black males go through that. It could be a woman boss, another black person but when your boss talks to you like shit with the bullshit that we’ve been through and seen, literally I’d be like, “I’ve knocked people out for less than what you just said to me. I came in five minutes late and you think you can raise your voice to me? Motherfucker I’ll kill you.” But you gotta calm down. The second verse is about a girl. I love rapping about women. That was based on a true story.

TRHH: What’s your opinion on the resurgence of west coast Hip-Hop?

Fashawn: I think it’s just time. As long as I’ve been a fan of Hip-Hop the south had their era, the east coast had their era, the west had their era and it’s just coming back to the left. We have quality younger artists on the forefront and even older artists are attacking the game and going hard. I just wish we would unite more. There’s a lot of us but if we don’t move together I don’t know if you can technically call that a movement. The west coast has always been here. I’m glad that people are feeling like it’s a resurgence even though it hasn’t went anywhere.

MURS: I think it’s more positive. For so long we’ve been known for having gangsta rap and being really aggressive. The aggression is still there. We haven’t had the spotlight. Everybody likes to use the word ‘hungry’, and we’ve been hungry for attention. Now we’re getting it the right way. We’re known for some of the most talented rappers. Not just the realest rappers or Blood and Crips. A lot of people were fascinated by that around the country because it was a new story in the early 90’s. Once they had it, co-opted it and used it their own way we became irrelevant. Now we’re just known for quality music.

We still have the gang culture but on top of that people are starting to respect the lyricism. It was always there I just think the drive-by shit overshadowed the quality of an artist like MC Eiht and DJ Quik. It was some great lyrics, great song writing and good music. It wasn’t just the low riders, barbeques, and good weed. It was some quality art being done and now people are focusing on the artistry.

TRHH: What’s the goal for This Generation?

MURS: Man I don’t know. This was just supposed to be a side project at first now Fash has put Champagne & Styrofoam Cups on hold; I’ve put my last album with 9th Wonder on hold. These were albums that were already done before This Generation got done. I’ve been having so much fun and thankfully people such as yourself and other press venues seem excited about it. The fans seem excited about it and people seem to dig the stage show. People that didn’t know us before are like, “Yo, y’all got something.” I don’t know where this is going. I had a whole ‘nother plan.

Fashawn: I once heard that when you expect nothing anything seems like something. I don’t have no expectations for this album. It’s there, if you like it, cool. September 25th, go get that, man.

MURS: Whatever numbers we do I had a good time and I made a friend in this. My initial thing was not to do any press. We weren’t starting off being on Duck Down. Everything is just kind of happening. We’re enjoying it, the music is quality and we put a lot into it. I guess that’s why so much is happening with it. There might be another album, we might do a tour, we might do ten more videos, and as long as it’s fun it’s going to keep getting done. I’m hoping for the best and expecting to continue to have fun with it. I hope people enjoy the music and don’t think too hard about it. Open up and hopefully there will be a song that means something for someone the way Yesterday & Today and Hey Young World means something for you. I’m just blessed that people might open up and make this album a part of their lives.

Pre-order: MURS & Fashawn – This Generation

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About Sherron Shabazz

Sherron Shabazz is a freelance writer with an intense passion for Hip-Hop culture. Sherron is your quintessential Hip-Hop snob, seeking to advance the future of the culture while fondly remembering its past.
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