Like many of his peers at Definitive Jux and Rhymesayers, Murs has crossed over to indie-rock audiences without sacrificing his underground hip-hop credibility. On Murray's Revenge, Murs once again surveys gangsta-rap territory with smartass indie-rock attitude, taunting studio gangstas on the title track with lines like "Is this really where you want to be when Jesus comes back / Lying 'bout your life over beats, coming wack?"

Murs' lyrics betray a deep knowledge of West Coast street culture, but like Vin Diesel in Find Me Guilty, Murs is a gagster, not a gangster, so his street narratives take the form of literate cautionary tales rather than blasts of thuggish bravado. On their second album-length collaboration, Murs and super-producer 9th Wonder make for a classic team: rapper and producer, naughty and nice, sass and smoothness—9th Wonder brings the satiny seduction and buttery soul, while Murs explores dysfunctional relationships, barbershops, sneakers, and racial politics with his trademark irreverent wit.


On 9th and Murs' previous collaboration, Murs 3:16, Murs blatantly catered to his indie-rock fans by professing to be "more Coldplay than I am Ice T." On Murray's Revenge, Murs name-drops The Smiths and The Cure as he contemplates the blurring of racial and cultural boundaries on "Dark Skin White Girl." Nothing on Murray's Revenge matches the anthemic, soaring urgency of the opening track, "Murs Day," but at 33 filler-free minutes, the disc never wears out its welcome either. Murs shatters the mold of West Coast emcees, but on Revenge, Murs and 9th Wonder wisely stick to the winning formula that paid such rich creative dividends on 3:16—strong song concepts, minimal guest appearances, a brisk running time, dope beats, and lyrics both smart and smartass.