Mur’s “And This is For” [Race In Hip Hop]


Back in 2006, Mur’s 3:16 produced by 9th Wonder was my go to joint. The album slams with 9th Wonder’s signature fruity loop sampling method and Murs’ lucid lyrics and honest lines like “My culture’s not a trend, being Black is not in.”  While Murs may not be the most talented lyricist considering rhyme patterns, and styles, his lyrics are poignantly and intelligently above the majority of other emcees.

I was particularly reminded of Murs’ “And This Is For,” as I’m torn–approached by so many artists–unsure of how to review or understand the hip hop music I receive. Do I accept the music upfront, consider race as factor, or even recognize the economic background? Is it like so many blues singer say, “Anyone can write the blues, but those that have experienced it can write it a hell of a lot easier.”

There’s so much to be said about the dilution of hip hop, from Caucasian kids seeing it as an opportunity to bob their heads while lighting blunts, to immigrants identifying with gangster experience from the slum housing they move into.

I don’t feel like it’s my place to make conjectures, and rather defer the attention to Murs’ lyrics from “And This is For..”

Damn time’s done changed these thugs do what they like
Some of them be your friends to try and find a new wife
And still hit the block and slang rocks at night
But you could be dead wrong with your pockets right
Contrary to what the legendary B.I.G. had to say
You don’t have to sell drugs or make the NBA
It’s easy to get a grant and get an MBA
To achieve one goal there’s more than one way
Young people on the whole we have lost our way
I don’t care what it cost I’m not impressed my nigga
That throwback jersey is a dress my nigga
I remember diamonds used to be girl’s best friend
Enslaving Black children with them third world gems
I don’t care about your rims, kids ride Big Wheels
Up until they learn balance and it’s obvious you haven’t
With way more ego than you have true talent

Any white boy who thinks he knows my struggle
Cause he listens to Pac and his adrenaline doubles
Now I ain’t got problems with you being yourself
But when you front and use the N word, it just don’t help
I might not trip, and your friends’ll laugh at you
But I know some real niggaz that’ll straight up slap you
Now you could be down, but let’s act growed up
Cause we ain’t the same color when police show up
My culture’s not a trend, being Black is not in
But for you it’s just a phase you’re gonna have to transcend
While even if I tried, I could never blend in
To society’s mainstream, American dream
Yeah, it’s all one love, but remember one thing
This music is my life, not a cultural fling
It’s an expression of the soul when we dance and sing
And you are blessed to have a chance to even glance the scene

Man I do the same music, they stop coming to shows
It’s like they scared of the white boys in the front row
First I was like “so?” I’mma get my dough
But the numbers kept falling as my fan base would grow
And now I’m concerned so I gotta speak up
First the money was the only thing shutting me up
But now I don’t care, don’t support me, get mad
Why wouldn’t you abort me, my own people have
I feel I should have the scans white rappers have
It’s sad but that’s the way it is
What’s the reason that my album doesn’t sell like his?
And don’t front like you don’t why the hell that is
It’s because he’s white, you can relate to his face
Through the years you’ve been taught that Black is unsafe
Plus it’s only natural for your own to be embraced
Conscious or subconscious you can’t say that ain’t the case
Only reason it took so long to take place
Was up until now your only choice was 3rd Bass
Or others like Ice, wasn’t really that tight
Now you got some white dudes who can truly rock the mic
You relate to their stories cause you share that past
Question is, why would you listen to MURS’ Black ass?
I asked myself for a while but now I finally get it
Good music transcends all physical limits
It’s more than something that you hear, it’s something that you feel
When the author and experience and passion is real
Used to feel I should be silent, I was scared to do this song
But I want everyone aware of what is going on
Yes it is jazz and yes it is the blues
And yes it is the exact same way they did rock
But I refuse to watch the same thing happen to hip-hop
I refuse to watch that bullshit…