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Murs and 9th Wonder

It's hard to believe it's been nearly a decade since the release of Murs 3:16 the 9th Edition but alas we're on the eve of the crowning release from the duo. The Final Adventure is the no-nonsense title of the superstar duo's latest. The thought of them "retiring" makes this reviewer borderline angry but as Murs puts it "5 albums in like 8 years gonna end it on a high instead of late in our careers." At least Murs and 9th deliver on that end. As sad as it is, The Final Adventure is less about reminiscing over a bygone era but moreso about enjoying the moment. This album has both the energy and passion of the first couple of albums and the poise and confidence of the more recent ones.

Surprisingly enough, Murs kicks off the intro by handing the mic to protege Rapsody. Homegirl is really the only guest featured on the album and the seemingly odd pairing works out as Rap has a lot of experience flowing over 9th's beats. Her obscure patterns compliment 9th's soulful production. "Complain, we fly now 3:16s been, and they just want more of it like Rose and Joakim / Sweet lord I told em kill the Bull just like a pimp." The energetic track has 9th reviving his signature production style which he has shied away from a bit recently. It may not have been produced on FL Studio but any knowledgable hip-hop fan will recognize the slap of that snare. Murs is in on the nostalgia as well. In an ode to the original albums intros he states "The dynamic duo, the hood's favorite pastime, Murs & 9th Wonder for the very last time."

The rest of the album is all over the place emotionally, from jubilant tracks like the follow up "Whatup Tho" (a favorite Murs tagline) to love ballads to stories of gang life like "Tale of Two Cities." The latter laments about the lingering red and blue side of L.A. hoods over a somber string loop. On that same tip is the lead track "Funeral for a Killer." The hard-hitting track features one of the rawest drum kits I've heard all year. 9th provides a kick so deep it's sure to fuck up someone's system. The grave (see what I did there?) nature of the track matches the beat perfectly. Murs takes off the nice guy persona he's had for much of his career and goes in.

"Went to the casket, and I looked in/ Same type of box that our enemies got put in And he the motherfucker put em there/ Came to say goodbye to my brother, but he wasnít there/ Staring at his mother in the front row/ Black dress, hair the same color as the gun smoke"

The other tracks of the album are largely dedicated to women, which is pretty standard for Murs. My personal favorite is "Baby Girl (Holdin' Hands)" 9th provides the backdrop by flipping a slowed down snippet of Sun's "I had a Choice." Double time kicks and an open hat highlight this banger. Murs compliments the track with a tale of first love: "I was in grade three, she was a grade above/ An older woman, it was crazy love/ Didn't know about the birds and the bees/ I had just learned my ABCs/ Up behind her at the bus stop/ Rubbing on her booty with my Batman lunch box."

Murs and 9th Wonder couldn't have conjured up a better farewell to their fans than "That's all folks, that's all that she wrote / It's over and it's finished, we gonna end it on a good note." But still, let's just hope this is one of those MJ/Jay-Z type retirements.

-Nick McClure