Keith Murray From such classic hits such as “The Most Beautifullest Thing in this World”, “Get Lifted” to the more recent “Candy Bar”, Keith has definitely created some hip-hop classics. This Def Squad member is now about to drop his new album “Rap-Murr-Phobia (The Fear of Real Hip-Hop) already spawning the hit single “Nobody Do It Better” featuring Black Ty (Tyrese). Sit back and read the exclusive Keith Murray interview.
by Will Hernandez
WHO?MAG: Talk to me about the new album? Keith Murray: It’s called “Rap-Murr-Phobia” produced by Erick Sermon. We have the new single with Tyrese called “Nobody Do it Better”. The video is out right now.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Tyrese for the song? Keith Murray: Erick Sermon knows him. We were thinking of a record and who would be good to get across the melody of the hook. Of course we came up with Tyrese. We contacted him and it popped off.
WHO?MAG: Who do you have on the album as far as cameos aside from Tyrese? Keith Murray: Redman, Method Man, LOD, and Lil Jamal from Illegal.
WHO?MAG: How did you get signed with Koch? Keith Murray: That was through Erick Sermon. He went and made a deal at Koch.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Erick Sermon? Keith Murray: Through K Solo. I heard Erick lived in the town over to Central Islip, Long Island. He moved to my town and we ran into him and K Solo when we used to be hustling at selling crack. He came up there and I told him to take to Erick Sermon because I didn’t know him them. He took me and it’s been popping ever since.
WHO?MAG: How did you get your record deal with Jive? Keith Murray: Erick Sermon took me to Jive. He did a couple of songs at the house and he told me. “You’re signing to Jive.” I was like “word!” What the f-ck is Jive? He said Jive/RCA. KRS One is one the label. I didn’t really know what it was.
WHO?MAG: Talk to me about the whole process behind “The Most Beautifullest Thing in this World”? Keith Murray: The production process of my coming off the corner. Going to the studio and coming up with ill sh-t. That’s it. It just came to me. Hip hop is what I love to do and I was trained doing it from it being a hobby. It came naturally to me. Just to get ill.
WHO?MAG: Did you ever think the album would get as big as it was? Keith Murray: Well, I knew in my frame of mind that this is how hip hop should be accepted no matter what I do. I’m from this culture. I was birthed in this culture. I was programmed in this culture. Why shouldn’t I be able to succeed? It’s for the culture. Those who know the culture, I expect them to understand that.
WHO?MAG: When you go to the studio, how do you work as far as writing songs? Keith Murray: Sometimes I might have the rhymes already in my head. Sometimes I might bring my notebook and write a rhyme. Sometimes I might submit out of my notebook. Depends on what I hear. Once I hear the beat I lock into it. It flows in my head. I go through the library in my head, then I’ll start trying rhymes with myself. Trying all types of combinations until the music tells me what to do. Sometimes I might hear a bit and then I go, “I got something for that”. I hear a beat and I start freestyling a certain way.
WHO?MAG: Tell me about the Def Squad remake of “Rappers Delight”? Keith Murray: We got a call from a company. The label that was doing the project with the rappers of that time that were banging. They had the idea of some groups to do songs from older rappers. They asked us to get the Sugarhill Gang record because the Sugarhill Gang loves the Def Squad. We covered the record and the shit got famous again! That was crazy.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Too $hort for the song you did together called “Independents Day” of his compilation of the same name? Keith Murray: Well Too $hort is cool with my boy. We came around and got in the studio and his man Shorty B made the beat. We just killed it like that.
WHO?MAG: I remember the video was dope. You were in suits with baseball bats. Keith Murray: Yeah! I had the afro pick in the back of my head. I was giving a lecture to emcees on certain situations in the industry to be careful and watch out for, but I was staying in my verse.
WHO?MAG: Whatever happened to the R&B singer Alfonso Hunter that was down with Def Squad? Keith Murray: He’s in Chicago. He’s still around.