While Internet-era culture boosters promote the idea that anyone can write, record, and produce quality music, Tucson-based rapper Murs does not.
A veteran hip-hop hustler who broke onto the underground scene as a solo artist when he released F'Real in 1997, Murs encourages artists to think twice about what they're putting out.
"The pop songs that were written [in the past] were written by older people with more experience and something to say," the MC recently told our sister publication Phoenix New Times.
"The Temptations weren't singing their own words when they were 17, they were singing the words of older people; older people were writing their music," he adds. "Young people shouldn't be able to write music if you don't have shit to say."
When they do have something to say, however, Murs is all ears, even providing a forum for young and old cats alike to spit their truth.
Since 2006, his annual Paid Dues Festival has attracted some of the most explosive talent in hip-hop. Wu-Tang Clan earned top billing last year, sharing the spotlight with Mac Miller and Odd Future. Kendrick Lamar has also been part of Paid Dues, as were Three-Six Mafia and Dilated Peoples.
The diversity is intentional, with each act bringing a different lesson for hip-hop heads.
"So many legendary MCs will teach you everything about street life, selling cocaine, and not being a snitch," Murs told New Times. "But they don't tell you how insane it is to live with a fucking two month old. Let the younger kids talk about what you used to talk about. They probably can't speak to what you can about being a father or a mogul or any of that. I'd like to hear more of that from my generation."
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Murs's Road to Paid Dues Tour. With Prof, Fashawn, and DJs Foundation and Fundo. Friday, February 15. The Stage, 170 NE 38th St., Miami. The show starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $15 plus fees via completeticketsolutions.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-576-9577; thestagemiami.com.