What do you get when you combine a veteran rapper from L.A. with a hip-hop group from Miami? Nothing less than the celebration of sound known as ¡Mursday!
The creative relationship between Murs and ¡Mayday! goes back to the band's first album, Take Me to Your Leader, which featured Murs on the track "Hardcore Bitches."
"When we first worked on a song together there was good chemistry between us," says ¡Mayday! emcee Wrekonize. "And after that, we talked back and forth about making more music. He tweeted us semi-seriously that we should make an album. He was joking, but the fans picked up on it, and it caught fire. That's when the idea of ¡Mursday! really hit the road."
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Tech N9ne, who founded Strange Music, Inc. and signed ¡Mayday! to the label, already had a relationship with Murs, the two having collaborated on songs and even gone on tour together. But it wasn't until the ¡Mursday! collaboration that Murs joined the Strange Music family.
"Tech N9ne and I had talked about me joining Strange. We had talked about it for a while," says Murs. "The time just wasn't right, but there was always a healthy respect between the two of us. But once I was going to do this project, I figured I might as well do a few more. I was also looking for a home for my solo project, and hopefully, somewhere to stay put for a bit. I'd wanted to be down with Strange for a while."
Murs' introduction to Strange Music and the label's fans came in the form of the ¡Mursday! full-length collaborative album.
"He came down to Miami for like two weeks to record the album," says Wrekonize. "We were in our studio, writing together and making these songs. One really cool thing about Murs is he doesn't write his lyrics down, he writes them in his head, pacing the room. Then he goes into the booth and lays it down right away."
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For ¡Mayday!, even though they were already friendly with Murs, it couldn't be ignored that they were working with one of their hip-hop heroes.
"I remember at one point I looked at Bernz," Wrekonize recalls. "And I was like, 'Are we really recording an album with this guy?' I had the Living Legends albums, I listened to Murs a lot. He was one of the artists I was looking at from the West Coast. I'd been to his shows, bought his solo albums."
As an 18-year veteran of the hip-hop game, Murs has definitely racked up an impressive resume, which may be why he was willing to follow ¡Mayday!'s lead when it came to the collaboration.
"I told Bernz you're the coach. You're the captain," says Murs, "He didn't like it when I said that, but every Wu-Tang needs a RZA. For one song, I redid a verse three times. But that's me, I'm gonna take orders. I'm gonna go in and a make the best music possible. That's the way music should be made, and I feel bands already operate like that, very collaborative. They're used to hearing and taking other people's input.
"What I always remember is that I have my own project where I get to be the boss. And I've been working on my new solo project for a while, so I can take some humility into the collaboration. When I'm in a position where I can shut my mouth and learn something that's what I'm gonna do."
Mayday! and Murs are about to hit the road together for a 41-show tour, but before that they're hooking up in Miami to record a new EP.
"I don't know what it's called but it's going to be free," says Murs, "Boost Mobile is giving us the opportunity to release a free EP all over the world. I'm heading down to Miami to record it. It wouldn't be Mursday! if it wasn't Miami. I've been doing this for a while, I've had the opportunity to go all around the world and I've gotten to love and appreciate Miami in a whole new way. It's an intricate part of Mursday!"
Mayday! and Murs will be kicking off their tour with a show at Grand Central on October 17.
"During the live performance we like to dice it up," says Wrekonize. "We start with some Mayday! solo stuff, then some Murs solo stuff and then we come out all together for Mursday!"
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¡Mursday! (Murs and ¡Mayday!). With DJ Heron, Problem Kids, Traumatize, Guapo, Fraser in the Flesh, Malc Stewy, Kairo, Inkstinkz, Skunk Ape Gang. Friday, October 17. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $15 to $40 plus fees via ticketfly.com. Ages 18 and up. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.