Arts & Context: Murs
Murs With Joseph Richard Winters
An Arts & Context Discussion
In this wide-ranging talk at Beyù Caffè in downtown Durham, legendary Los Angeles-based rapper Murs discusses his career, influences, and record-setting 26-hour rap that landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2016. Moderated by Joseph Richard Winters (Duke Religious Studies and African and African American Studies). Murs’s residency at Duke will culminate in a performance with longtime collaborator and Durham icon 9th Wonder at Motorco Music Hall on the evening of Thursday, February 8.
The rapper Murs and the producer 9th Wonder were raised on different coasts: Murs is a product of South Central Los Angeles, a background that’s informed every aspect of his lyrics, from streetwise storytelling to the bits of Spanish he’s long woven into his lines. 9th Wonder, of course, is a North Carolina native and Durham icon, thanks to his tenure in the groundbreaking trio Little Brother and his stints teaching hip-hop classes at N.C. Central and Duke. These two hip-hop veterans share an astounding versatility that has made them some of the genre’s most compelling artists for nearly two decades. 9th Wonder has worked with the likes of Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar while building a defiantly independent hip-hop empire at home, while Murs has moved easily between major labels and underground bastions.
Since 2004, the bicoastal duo has delighted in one of hip-hop’s most productive and joyous rapper-producer collaborations ever, built in large part on that shared adaptability. On a series of six albums and mixtapes, Murs has shared tales of domestic bliss, youthful woe, and social criticism over the trademark soul samples of 9th Wonder. The relationship has pushed them both, adding more dissonance to 9th’s jubilant musical vocabulary and more fun to the hardline rhymes of Murs. In Durham, Murs closes a weeklong Duke residency with a duo set alongside 9th Wonder, built from the best of their dozen years of partnership.
Murs & 9th Wonder are presented as part of Duke Performances’ Hip-Hop Initiative, made possible, in part, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. This conversation is co-sponsored by the Forum for Scholars and Publics at Duke University and Be Connected, hosted by Beyù Caffè.
Murs is an iconic, critically acclaimed hip-hop artist based in Los Angeles. Over the past 20 years, he has amassed an impressive body of solo work, including The End of the Beginning (2003), Murs for President (2008), and Have a Nice Life (2015), in addition to his numerous collaborations with…...Read More
Joseph Winters is an assistant professor of Religious Studies at Duke University with a secondary position in the Department of African and African American Studies. He holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. His interests lie in African-American Religious Thought, Religion and Critical Theory, Af-Am…...Read More