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Murs at Culture Room

Though Murs got his start in L.A. in the early '90s, his message has always been anti-gangster, thumbing his nose at the violent outlook of gangsta rap over beats that are just as infectious. His delivery is strong, clear, and honest — whether he's making social commentary about race and violence, discussing his personal struggles, or rapping about sexy ladies. He first came to fame along with fellow conscious rappers Aesop Rock and El-P as part of the Def Jux crew. Until his 2003 debut on Def Jux, Murs rapped prolifically as part of several underground L.A. hip-hop groups. Since he struck out on his own close to a decade ago, he has released several well-received solo records and has continued to collaborate as well, most notably with rapper Slug as the duo Felt and with DJ and producer 9th Wonder, with whom he released last year's Fornever. His most recent collaborative effort, though, is perhaps his most inspiring. This past February, Murs played a large role in organizing a collaboration between the Paid Dues festival and Habitat for Humanity that resulted in the construction of some fine homes for well-deserving families in L.A.

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Travis Newbill

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