Murs, Perceptionists | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Murs, Perceptionists 

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Murs came of age in LA during the Chronic sessions, but all you hear of it is the hard edge in his voice and the trademark west-coast shuffle in his cadence: instead of glorifying his violent surroundings, he's always preferred to scoop out his own guts and serve them on a paper plate. He's poised but not flashy, proud but not grandiose, self-deprecating but not meek--all evident on the personality-driven 3:16: The 9th Edition. His second full-length on progressive hip-hop label Definitive Jux, it's produced by 9th Wonder, best known for work with Nas and Jay-Z. Murs's horny inner rapscallion seems to have cornered the best tracks: on "Bad Man!," a summery, reggae-flavored street jam, he explains matter-of-factly why good girls fall for bad dudes like him; on the low-slung locker-room ditty "Freak These Tales" he's as graphic as a blogger who thinks no one will ever read him, dishing details about spreading his seed all over the land. But he tempers his skirt chasing with the emo-riffic "The Pain" (he's been jilted, but it's OK) and the diatribe "And This Is For..." (watching white rap stars bite his material and make a grip of cash has him all worked up). On "Walk Like a Man"--a two-part fictional allegory about the shooting of his best friend--he steps outside himself, gets all moral on us, and loses his flow. But 3:16 clocks in at a refreshingly brief 35 minutes, and in a time of records bloated with skits and slow jams we're lucky we got only one extraneous bummer. Boston MCs Mr. Lif and Akrobatik have been blowing people's minds for a few years with their onstage tag teams and reciprocal guest shots, often backed by DJ Fakts One. Now the three have finally emerged as a for-real supergroup, the Perceptionists, with the single "Medical Aid" (a split with 4th Pyramid) out on Def Jux and a full-length due in the fall. Labelmates SA Smash perform first; all-ages. Sunday, April 25, 7 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie; 773-276-3600 or 800-594-8499.

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