Keith Murray's 20 Years of "Beautifullest"
Tonight, the Green-Eyed Bandit returns as Keith Murray takes the stage at S.O.B.'s! The Def Squad member, known for hits such as "The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World" and his stand-out guest appearances on tracks like R. Kelly's "Home Alone" and the remix of Mary J. Blige's "Be Happy," has an inimitable presence over beats that's made him one of the most memorable MCs of his era. Debuting his new single "Been Hot" on-stage tonight, we spoke to Murray about dispelling some rumors that have followed his career, as well as reuniting in the studio with Erick Sermon.
S.O.B.'s Keith Murray
Your show tonight was put together by XXL and is hosted by Mr. Cheeks. How far do you and Mr. Cheeks go back?
Mr. Cheeks is a good friend of mine. I'm giving unsigned artists a chance to perform also, and we needed somebody to host in-between sets, so he was the first person that came to my mind. I knew Cheeks for so long, Lost Boyz and Keith Murray were on the road in 1996 in Atlanta.
And tonight's the debut of the "Been Hot" single?
Yeah, a lot of artists want to "get hot," but I've "Been Hot," you know?
Is this coming off the upcoming The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World Part 2?
This is just a single. I'm with Erick Sermon right now making The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World Part 2. The first album makes 20 years in November.
What made you decide that 20 years later is the right time for a sequel?
Well, it's just time. The natural order of progression. 10 years would have been a good significant number, but I didn't do it then. 20 years in an accomplished feat. That's a long time. It was only right that I come with Part Two now and let people know who wasn't even around for 20 years, give them a whiff of the first one and then offer the second one to them.
How different is it putting out an album now from your last solo album on Def Jam in 2003?
At that time, the industry was shifting tides. Albums were going to singles. Major labels were forming companies and the heads of them were moving around. Music was changing, different types of rappers were ushered in the game. When all of that changed, people really didn't know what they wanted because the industry was fickle. Now that all of that has settled, they compare the 90s to the 2000s to 2013 and us, whose records have survived the test of time, our styles are coming back into popularity. Everybody's like "Keith Murray, where's Keith Murray? We want to hear him take on society with his vocabulary and Erick Sermon's smooth grooves with real hip-hop drums!" Everything comes back around, and now is the time for that.