(AllHipHop Features) As an emcee, he has a catalog that includes standout solo efforts as well as acclaimed collaborative projects with 9th Wonder, Fashawn, ¡Mayday!, and others. As a promoter, he helped shine a light on the culture through the popular Paid Dues festival and tour.
Murs is now tackling the position of talk show host. The Los Angeles-bred entertainer is the face of the new digital series Where You At? L.A.
The live Hip Hop program launched on July 13. Murs and his partners fully embraced the current landscape for consuming media content by broadcasting the series on Boost Mobile’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The most recent episode aired last night (July 27) with appearances by West Coast representatives DJ Quik, B-Real, Problem, and Mike G of Odd Future. Previously, Murs sat down with Dame Dash, Casey Veggies, and Reverie.
Three more installments are scheduled to run August 17, September 7, and September 28. The final Los Angeles show will feature Murs attempting to set a new world record. Viewers will have the chance to watch the Strange Music signee try his hand at rapping for 24 hours.
I caught up with Murs prior to the airing of Where You At? L.A. episode two, and the Have A Nice Life LP creator spoke about his new gig and more.
How did you come up with the concept for Where You At?
The original concept was from my man Jay [Lledo] at the 180LA ad agency. We developed it together from there with Boost Mobile’s involvement. With them being the type of partner that’s open to doing real sh-t, they gave us a lot of latitude.
Jay said, “We want to do something like [Rap City’] Tha Basement with freestyling, just creating a real Hip Hop show.” There’s a huge void for it. It was an investment in the culture. There’s no real rap show on network TV. Though network TV is a thing of the past now with live streaming.
You guys decided to broadcast the show through social media. What led to the decision behind using Facebook, Snapchat, and Periscope?
I think it’s to give the viewer more participation. I started playing video games on my Twitch channel, and it’s fun to interact with the fans. I think that’s what the new fans want.
The questions that are coming in for the artists are actually coming from the fans, instead of me coming with a list of preset questions that could be generic or questions everyone’s heard before. The fans feel like they’re getting to kick it with their favorite artist.
It’s also to advertise Boost Mobile’s unlimited music streaming. So why not stream the show? And it’s all filmed on Boost Mobile devices. It feels more organic and natural. It’s the newest craze.
How does it feel being on the other side of the media?
The fans help out a lot. But I like it because I’ve always been a fan first. I’m a fan of good Hip Hop journalism.
I read a lot of Hip Hop journalism growing up and a lot of the OG blogs, before it became everybody and their mom had a blog. The people who originally got into online journalism were real students of the craft. It’s rare.
I think I qualify because I’m a fan of Hip Hop journalism. I take it seriously. Plus, being on both sides, I have a unique perspective.
Why are you guys only doing five shows?
Even most TV shows get a start. But we’ve definitely talked about doing Where You At LA?, Where You At New York?, Where You At Atlanta?, and Where You At Midwest? There are many sections of the culture to uncover. It’s really up to the fans. I know Boost is into it.
We’re also reaching the level where the corporate sponsors are heads, and they love Hip Hop as much as you or I do. So they want to see it continue. We quadrupled the amount of audience invites this time. So it’s growing, and I hope it is more than five episodes.
You’ve had some great Los Angeles based guests on the program. What has been the process for booking the artists? Are these people that you knew and just asked to come on?
It’s from my days of doing Paid Dues and being a fixture in the community. I saw Mike G at a video game tournament. I ran into Problem at the same tournament.
I told them, “Yo, I’m doing this thing. You want to come through?” Most people’s initial reaction is, “Yeah, for sure. Whatever you need Murs.”
I called up Casey Veggies and asked, “What are you doing?” He said, “I got a birthday dinner, but for you bro, I’ll come through. Just let me know.”
You mentioned Paid Dues. I know you’ve said it’s “highly unlikely” the festival is going to return. But now that you have this relationship with Boost Mobile, is it possible that you may do the festival again in the future?
I never thought about that. I should ask Boost. You know what? That’s so crazy cause I never really thought about it. [laughs] Good idea.
I don’t know. I haven’t explored that possibility. Honestly, wrangling all these artists remind me of the ups-and-downs of what a pain in the ass it can be to get rappers to show up at one place at one time. And how fun it is when you pull it off.
If this Where You At? series takes off, I might just do this instead for a little while. To do that, Paid Dues, being a rapper, streaming video games, and being a dad is kicking my ass. It’s all for the love though.
Are you working on another solo project?
Yeah, I postponed everything to get the video game streaming off, getting my son into school, and then I’ve got this 24-hour rap marathon to do as well.
I’ve been writing and recording for a new record. Right after finishing the marathon, I’m going in and recording a record.
I want to turn it in by November, and hopefully sometime early next year the new album will be out. I got a lot to say. There’s a lot going on in the world and in Hip Hop.
How has it been working with Tech N9ne and Strange Music?
I’ve learned a lot. I’ve come in contact with a lot of new fans. I’ve gotten to tour with Tech. I’ve been able to be with him every day and see how much time, effort, energy, and love goes into what he does.
It was humbling to see. And Krizz Kaliko too. They have the best live show in music to me, definitely in Hip Hop.
So seeing the work and the pride they put into their music was inspiring. I took a lot of notes. Also being around Travis [O’Guin] and the rest of the Strange Music staff is always great business wise.
Going back to the show, you talked about wanting to set this record for the longest freestyle. How are you planning to maintain rhyming for that long? Have you thought about how you’re going to accomplish this feat?
It’s not going to be a freestyle. I’ll leave that to the champion, Supernatural. It’s going to be like rap karaoke. I’m going to do some of my own songs, some songs from my new album that no one’s heard yet, and some songs that I never put out that I really like.
I’m going to be doing some N.W.A, some Wu-Tang, some Tag Team, and Kool Keith. Every rapper I ever heard – I’m going to try to say [their lyrics] within that 24 hours. And then maybe some freestyles on top of that.
I want it to be entertaining. I don’t got the bars like that to make freestyle entertaining for 24 hours. So I’m going to do me and have fun. It’s about my love for Hip Hop culture in general.
It should be funny with me jumping around, screaming, getting delirious, hungry, and tired, peeing on myself probably. Who knows? Tune in, it’ll be the first time in your life you’ll go to sleep seeing somebody rapping and wake up and they’re still rapping.
It should be entertaining. It seems like you’re doing it as an homage to the culture.
I love it. That’s the way it came up. I was like, “What can we do to emphasize that?” I always do covers during my set, and a lot of people are doing covers. It’s important that we show love to one another.
The emcee is always, “Me, me, me, me, me.” I wanted to do something else. I’m going to try to learn the words to “Panda” as well. That will be hilarious.
Good luck with that. [laughs]
At least if I mess up nobody will be able to tell but Desiigner. [laughs]
Watch episode two of Where They At? L.A. below.