Keith Murray: Return Of The Beautifullest Vocabulist (Pt 1)

posted June 25, 2007 12:00:00 AM CDT | 52 comments

Hes been serving up multi-syllabic lyrical beatdowns since his debut on Erick Sermons first solo effort, 1993s No Pressure. But over the course of his career Keith Murray has become known more for his rah-rah antics outside of the studio than his efforts to establish himself as one of the best lyricists to ever bless a microphone in it. Keith should however reclaim his standing as one of hip-hops elite MCs on July 31st with Rapp-Murr-Phobia (Fear Of Real Hip-Hop), his first release on Def Squad/Koch.

Unfortunately, as attractive as an Erick Sermon produced Keith Murray album is, fans and foes alike still seem to be more drawn to stories of Keiths rumored hotheadedness than his hot to def rhymes. So thats why Keith has chosen to break his silence and speak publicly for the first time to HipHopDX about his alleged attack on a Def Jam staffer, which reportedly got him dropped from the label about a month before his 4th solo effort, Hes Keith Murray, was released with little fanfare. Keith also addresses past showdowns with Pac and Prodigy, as well as a long-standing feud with K-Solo, the person who ironically first introduced Murray to Erick Sermon.

While his seeming knack for always finding his way into the middle of some shit is constantly highlighted, Keith is determined to shift the focus of the public back to what earned him his reputation as one of the games best in the first place, as he explains on his new hit single Nobody Does It Better: Now Im hearing I got anger issues on the street/The only anger I got is when Im fuckin up an E beat.

HHDX: On U Aint No Gangsta from your Intellectual Violence mixtape you say, I really hung with Big, squared off with Pac/Shook hands in the House of Blues before the shit popped. When you say you squared off with Pac are you saying yall fought?
Keith Murray
: Well, squaring off means squaring off fighting means fighting. What happened was we was in the House of Blues [and] Tupac came down there one night we was performing. Then his man, whoever his man [was], his bodyguard, whoever, was like, Yo, my man wanna know if you talking about him in that song. And I was like, Who? I just had said what up to Pac, we spoke, and then [his man] said, Pac. I was like, What? Pac come here. And [Tupac] said, Nah, I aint steppin to yall. It was me, Redman, Erick, and all of us. And [Tupac] was saying, Nah, I got shot five times. I dont know whos who. Cause I was on that record, [L.L. Cool Js] I Shot Ya. So he thought niggas was all going at him. So we had a little moment, and then we shook hands in the House of Blues before the shit popped. God bless the dead. I love Tupac.

HHDX: There is one mic peer that you did square off with in the fighting sense, and that was Prodigy about 10 years ago at The Tunnel. You guys have traded
Keith Murray
: [Interrupts] That wasnt no fight. A fight is when you hit somebody and they hit you back [laughs].

HHDX: You guys have traded diss records as recently as a couple years ago, so has anything changed on the Keith Murray Vs. Prodigy front in the past couple years?
Keith Murray: We aint really trade [diss] records. He said something in a record, but I made a record . But nah, it aint no beef with Prodigy. Thats dead and old.

HHDX: Have you guys physically come into contact since then?
Keith Murray
: I seen him one time. He was like, Yo, lets do a record. And I was like, True.

HHDX: Now since we addressed those past violence-related rap beefs, lets clarify once and for all what your involvement was in the incidents of violence that you were reportedly involved in recently. First, did you really stab a fan in the leg during a concert at Webster Hall on Christmas Day 2004?
Keith Murray: Youre talking about allhiphop where the nigga said allegedly Keith Murray and his crew beat up K-Solo. And K-Solo was the nigga that got stabbed and said he want a civil suit because his rap career is fucked up because he got stabbed in the leg. [The piece] was saying allegedly Keith Murray and his boys jumped him. Its weird how the news be so twisted. People dont even care, all they do is read like, Yo, did you stab a fan? A fan? I heard the nigga was a rapper and now his career is fucked up. The only nigga whos a rapper [that was there] is K-Solo. I was nowhere near when he got his muthafuckin ass beat.

HHDX: But wasnt there another rapper, who I guess claims to be a fan also, who filed a lawsuit?
Keith Murray
: Some nigga that run with K-Solo - they in cahoots. K-Solo put the nigga up to it cause he starving and want money. So his best way to do it is, Yo, say you did it. I got paperwork with this nigga name on it, Kevin Madison. Like, wow, how do you stoop that low? When you know you aint gonna do nothing or get nothing cause I didnt do shit to you. Then you look bad in front of the public cause you trying to sue a real individual.

HHDX: How did that situation come to be with K-Solo?
Keith Murray
: Man, this nigga said some shit [while] I was in jail. He said some shit on the record about me not getting another record deal if I go to jail [and] disrespecting Erick Sermon. So [my crew] L.O.D. saw him and administered the beatings on him. K-Solo did an article on and was like, Yo, I feel Keith Murray is responsible for me having to get a lot of security. Like, are you crazy?! I was minding my own business. So why you wanna try to get money off of me? Its not gonna work K-Solo! Youre finished!

HHDX: So has this kids lawsuit been settled?
Keith Murray
: Settled? I aint do shit to the nigga, so they didnt fuck with me no more. They know I aint do nothing to them. They just want it publicized cause they heard I got a new label situation at Koch with Def Squad and they want some money so they creating false statements. This shit happened like 3 years ago. I been down this road. These niggas is cocksuckas, man.

HHDX: And lets address the incident from 4 years ago, once and for all was there any truth to the reports that you sent a Def Jam street team rep in Houston to the hospital on your birthday in 03?
Keith Murray
: I heard that the nigga said he went to the hospital. All I did was grab one of the niggas. Then this nigga goes to Def Jam with a neck brace on. Now the workers there is telling me cause Im friends with some of em like, Yo, the nigga wearing a neck brace to work, but hes out in the clubs partying and chillin. So he used Def Jam to pay him some money thru false allegations.

HHDX: So if other people within Def Jam knew the truth, or as youre saying the truth is, why then did they still drop you?
Keith Murray
: Kevin [Liles] and Lyor [Cohen] signed Keith Murray to Def Jam. Now, [at that time] Kevin and Lyor was leaving Def Jam. I was like, Yo Kevin, I see where this is going. Just let me go. He was like, Well, we could talk about it. Then this incident come in where this kid is like, "Oh, he did this to me, he did that to me." They gave him money. So they was leaving, not to my knowledge but I knew something wasnt right over there. The momentum if you look at the projects was going down. So Im like, Yo, let me off the label. He said we could talk about it and then this incident happened [and] they gave me a release. So Im like, yo, be careful what you ask for cause you just might get it. Now I asked for a release, but it came to me in a negative way. So at the time I couldnt read it. Im sitting back looking at it like, "Yo, why is all this shit going down?" I asked for it. So now, I got a different situation and Im good.

HHDX: Just out of curiosity, do you address any of these incidents on the song Anger off your new album?
Keith Murray
: Nah, but I address [these incidents] on other songs.

HHDX: So whats Anger about then?
Keith Murray
: Anger is expressing the most misunderstood emotion.

HHDX: Do you think people misunderstand your anger, or your perceived anger?
Keith Murray
: I think people misunderstood certain incidents that went on, cause they go by what they hear. I didnt talk to the press [after these incidents]. When it started coming out in the press, I just went home and went in the studio. I didnt even talk. So of course people are gonna perceive what they wanna perceive. So what I did was I went back and made a record, Nobody Does It Better. And then that record, produced by Erick Sermon, my first single, featuring Tyrese, which is the #2 most added record at urban radio across the nation

HHDX: Yeah I just saw that. Thats pretty surprising to get that kind of radio love.
Keith Murray
: Why?

HHDX:I dont know, just the way shit is right now. If it was something like the jingles that are out there right now maybe I would be less surprised.
Keith Murray
: Well somebody got ta rep hardcore, baby!

HHDX: [Laughs] I love the fact that it sounds like an R&B record but its actually a tribute to yourself [laughs].
Keith Murray
: Right. Thats the power of Erick Sermon with the melody and Tyrese with the harmonizing and Keith Murray with the flow. But that record right there is my answer to all the negativity [and] people taking they shots. See, when you dont have a record out the haters got a voice. We figured we had to come back with something to shut muthafuckas up. And to answer the critics. They wanna ask me questions All the questions you asking me is in that record, [along with] the answers.

Check out part two where Keith speaks on new Def Squad and L.O.D. albums, his long-rumored battle with Big Daddy Kane, and why he couldnt join G-Unit like he had hoped

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