Thursday, June 19, 2008

East New Yaaahk!

Of all the new up-and-coming rappers there is one person who intrigues me the most. Not necessarily because of the lyrical skill and content but because of the total package he presents, pause.

I found myself overcome with the same level of intrigue (but not interest) back in the late 90s when a certain rapper from Philadelphia named Beanie Sigel emerged on the scene. To me he wasn't the greatest rapper I ever heard, but there was something to be said about the level of disdain and hatred in his voice that was aimed at any doubters -- hell, make that anybody, period. Anybody who questioned Beans was immediately met with fists or gunfire, or both, but always resulting in at least a permanent maiming, and at most a vicious death. That was his story and he stuck to it.

Hiphop has always had "the bad guy." The bully. He has always played a vital role in Hiphop, especially as of late with the popularization of using beef as a marketing technique to potentially increase both artist visibility and album sales. But with Suge Knight's recent downfall and Beanie Sigel trying to stay out of jail while battling obesity and addiction to prescription drugs, it has become apparent that there is a void that needs to be filled. Immediately.

Enter Uncle Murda.

Murda possesses all of the aforementioned characteristics and qualities, and then some.

For a relative newcomer to the industry he has a fear of nothing and no one. Everybody is a potential target, but he usually saves his harshest comments for the NYPD.

And after being signed to the Roc with a hefty co-sign from fellow Brooklynite Jay-Z (Jay has since moved on...), Murda seemingly couldn't be stopped. Literally.

Many speculated that a dispute with rapper Papoose resulted in Murda being grazed by a bullet in the head -- only for Murda to release a song the very next day called I Ain't Dead, where boasts about how he can't be touched by the streets or the police, a constant theme in his lyrics:

"Some b*tch ass n*ggas was shootin' at me the other day
They guns was pointed at me but they was lookin' the other way
These kids be so scared
They think they want beef but they really not prepared.
They think they did something
These clowns don't understand
They got they hood hyped like
'Yo we just killed Murda, man!'
They all hype now,
They adrenaline runnin'
They don't even realize
That they didn't kill nothin'!
You think y'all some dons
Y'all all in the same lobby
They shot up the car and they think they got a body!"
To let him tell it Uncle Murda was already a legend in the streets, a Brooklyn bully who shoots people for fun in between claims of never having been arrested once. (At least not for murder or gun possession...)

Armed with his signature catch phrase of "East New Yaaahk" -- a shout out to his stomping grounds, East New York, Brooklyn -- at the beginning, at the end, and all throughout his songs, Murda steadily released mixtape after mixtape and found himself with a heavy buzz in the streets.

Please don't take that to mean he is a superior emcee who possesses all the necessary tools needed to be a complete rapper. While his flaws are evident (vocabulary, word play, concepts, to name a few), his voice and flow more than compensate. His lyrics are a bit on the basic side but there aren't too many different ways to explain how Murda will bring a human life to an abrupt end. But still he is effective, and also provides comic relief whether he knows it or now.

For instance, on his song "Faggots" -- about fake gangsters, not homosexuals -- Murda lets us know that he'll "turn a gangsta into a dead faggot". But wait, there's more:

"N*ggas wanna scheme on me
Get they guns up and try to put they teams on me.
I used to roll wit ch'all
I know how y'all move
I'mma put holes in y'all.
Deep? Of course not. Threatening? Yep. For Uncle Murda, mission accomplished.

Murda also advises people not to sleep on him as both a rapper and a homicidal maniac on the Intro to his Hard to Kill mixtape:

"You can hate but can't front on me
Without having a gun
I make n*ggas run from me
They're like 'what up?'
I'm like 'what up, son, we can get it poppin!'
His man's like 'chill, son, I think that n*gga got it.'
Then somebody screams out 'Murda's got a gun!'
N*ggas lookin' at they mens like
'Run n*gga run!'
I scream out 'bang bang' niggas think I'm shootin'
Damn Uncle Murda got some powerful music!
They say he sounds like 50,
He sounds like Biggie.
To me
That sounds like I gets busy!"
His production isn't the best but it is definitely effective and appropriate considering the subject matter for most of Murda's material. On "Runnin' the City," Murda explains on the song's hook how everybody who thinks they run New York needs to fall back and acknowledge that Murda has effectively taken their places immediately:

"Tell Hova that Murda runnin' the city now
Tell Diddy that Murda runnin' the city now
Tell Russell that Murda runnin' the city now
Tell 50 that Murda runnin' the city now."
In the song's first verse Murda wastes no time demonstrating how fake thugs crumble in his presence:

"I done shot many men
Many men fear me.
Even gangstas,
When I come around, get leery
Then I step to 'em
They like 'what up, son?'
I'm like 'what up, muhf*ckah, you see my gun!'
Then them dudes start stuttering, like
'Wh-, wh-, what you talkin' bout?'
Then we rob them n*ggas
They like 'what's this all about?'
'My man heard you talkin' slick
Yeah, that's what happened.
Now we violatin' y'all
For acting like it can't happen.
Joke's on y'all, you see all the chicks laughing?
Then we take 'em to the back
And let my little man clap 'em.'
My little man hit 'em all up in they fitted caps
I told them to tell Biggie I'm bringing the city back!
That in a nutshell is classic Uncle Murda. He has stories for days about how he stays beating the odds in street shootouts and how he ducks the law and scorns the police. Call me crazy but it's refreshing to hear a rapper who doesn't focus on money and women exclusively; or a rapper who isn't overwhelmingly positive and optimistic while paying respect to his Africa heritage.

Murda makes no excuses and is who he is: an unabashed ignorant thug who will kill you in a heartbeat if you don't comply with his demands. Unlike the same claims made my many of his contemporaries, I believe him.

1 comment:

Alexander Pope said...

Murda's convincing to say the least. Is he New York born? I haven't heard him yet, but reading him, I heard him. He's marking his territory...Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid couldn't keep up