Sunday, February 25, 2007

Keith Murray

A native of Long Island, Keith Murray first hooked up with Erick Sermon (of EPMD) in 1994. The two worked together to produce Murray's debut single, "The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World," and the song became a hit by the end of the year. After an appearance on Sermon's album, Double or Nothing, Keith Murray released his first album in 1995, and titled it after his hit single. The album was certified gold, and Murray delivered his second set near the end of 1996. It's a Beautiful Thing followed in 1999.Before Keith Murray ever recorded an album, he battled Big Daddy Kane, a man widely considered to be one of the greatest MCs of all time. At that time, Murray went by the name of MC Do Damage. Murray did not win the battle, but he did earn the respect of Kane. Later, Murray would be introduced to Erick Sermon of EPMD by K-Solo. Sermon would feature Murray on his album No Pressure. Murray quickly established himself as one of the most creative lyricists in the industry with his first album The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World, released in 1994 on Jive Records. The title track from this album remains Murray's biggest solo hit. This album was given 4 mics by The Source.Murray's second album Enigma was released in 1996 on Jive. It received similar ratings from critics, but it was not quite as commercially successful as the previous album. In 1998, The Def Squad covered "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang. They would later release their own album, El Nino. Murray's third album It's a Beautiful Thing was released in 1999 while he was in prison. Like the previous album, it received relatively good reviews, but it showed yet another drop in sales. Murray also appeared on the song "Home Alone" by R. Kelly. In 2001, Murray's return to the music industry was announced with a memorable verse on "Fatty Girl." This song was featured on The Good Life, a compilation of songs for Fubu.

Keith Murray - The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World (Nov 8, 1994: Jive)
Before he managed to get himself locked up for a brief bid later in the decade on an assault charge, Keith Murray was assaulting microphones and thesauruses alike with his ill "Sychosymatic" lyrical skills. Introduced to the rap world at the end of 1993 via a guest spot on the song "Hostile" off Erick Sermon's first solo album Double or Nothing, Murray stepped out on his own at the beginning of the next year with the mellow Sermon-produced hit single "The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World," then backed it up with a full-length debut by the same title. There is nothing new in Sermon's loping music that you couldn't get on EPMD albums or from other recordings by members of the Def Squad, although he did continue to bring the funk hot and viscous as always. The main attraction on The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World, then, is Murray's raw, emotionally charged flow and droll (though not as funny as Redman), articulate rhymes, straight out of the battle-rap school of hip-hop. His lyrics, in other words, are often tasty going down (particularly on "How's That" with Sermon and Redman and "Bom Bom Zee" with Paul Hightower and Hurricane Gee) but won't necessarily stick around to quell any sort of hunger. Still, the album went gold and is easily recommended for fans of Double or Nothing or Whut? Thee Album.

Keith Murray - Enigma (Nov 26, 1996: Jive)
With his second album Enigma, Keith Murray continues to improve his rhythmic skills, as demonstrated by the deft lyrical gymnastics he performs throughout the record. Murray's style of production is defiantly East Coast with its spare rhythms and emphasis on lyrical rhymes. This can make the record a little monotonous to some listeners, but his kinetic verbal energy keeps Enigma exciting and fresh.




Keith Murray - It's a Beautiful Thing (Jan 12, 1999: Jive) Keith Murray may have a distinctive rapping style, but that doesn't necessarily make for distinctive albums if his third album, It's a Beautiful Thing, is any indication. It's no coincidence that the title recalls Murray's high-water mark, "The Most Beautifullest Thing in the World" — the entire album is a self-conscious attempt to return to those glory days, which is ironic because he's never really changed his style over the years. Still, name-association means a lot, and that may be the reason why there do seem to be several highlights on It's a Beautiful Thing, since there are no real musical or lyrical breakthroughs anywhere on the album. Indeed, it's by-the-books Murray, which will undoubtedly satisfy some long-term fans, who only need new songs to keep their interest. The rest of the audience will find the album to be a bit uneven, despite his obvious flair for lyrical gymnastics (or maybe because of them, since many of his rhymes don't make sense, even in the absurdist sense) — the sounds aren't really new and only a handful of songs catch hold. There's enough to make It's a Beautiful Thing a reasonably entertaining listen, even if they aren't enough to make it memorable.

Keith Murray - He's Keith Murray (Apr 29, 2003: Def Jam)
After his gloriously fluky solo debut, "The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World," scaled the charts in 1994, Keith Murray's career went into a tailspin he still hadn't recovered from ten years later. His 1996 album Enigma sounded flat and sold poorly, and he began serving a prison term for second-degree assault just as 1999's It's a Beautiful Thing reached the stores. Three years later, after being released and signing to Def Jam in 2002, Murray was dropped from the label before He's Keith Murray even arrived, on charges that he'd choked two Def Jam employees. It did appear, finally, leaving fans of his eccentric take on East Coast rap just a little disappointed, especially so considering the long wait. Murray partially explains his situation with the autobiographical "Christina," relating not only his legal troubles but the early death of his parents and sister; unfortunately, the track isn't much more than a straight retelling, with little emotion and no context. The biggest hit here, "Yeah Yeah U Know It," is a solid party jam, but quite a few other crossover items fall flat: "Candi Bar" is a Latin pop throwaway that wastes Patti Austin as a backing vocalist (granted, it's partly saved by Murray's typically hilarious rhymes). Ironically, anyone who sticks with the record on the flip side will find a much better half, featuring a pair of tight, menacing Erick Sermon tracks ("Sucka Free," "Say Goodnite") and a Jazze Pha production on "Say Whaatt" that floats the perfect accompaniment to Murray's soundclash with Redman. Though his recordings have offered much to hip-hop fans tired of hearing the same old jams, Murray remains his own worst enemy — both at letting his temper off the mike get the best of him, and at allowing crossovers to force aside his best tracks.

Keith Murray - Kickin Ass Mixtape Vol.1

Enjoy & keep voting with new poll...As Salaam Aleikum

4 comments:

Jaz said...

Good write up but as a longtime fan I have to state that I am confused at some of the info here.

Keith M first debuted with Erick Sermon on Hostile on Erick's first solo album No Pressure (1993)not Double or Nothing.

Keith's first album was released in 1994 not 1995 and Keith had a single out in 1992 under the name Keefy Keef.

Eliko B said...

jaz hanks 2 improving ;)

Jaz said...

No problem at all, I was happy to help

peace

:)

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