By Daniel Paiz
If you’ve heard the name Murs before, then you know you’re in for something special on Friday night at Cervantes’ Other Side in Denver, Colorado. If you haven’t before now, strap in for one of Hip-Hop’s signature underground treasures.
Cervantes’ Other side is especially made for a smaller, more intimate set, and Murs and the talented cast of artists he brought along utilized this setting to the fullest. There was the local act titled AztroGrizz, the set-up acts known as Lock Smith and Cojo, respectively, and the tour DJ for Murs, DJ Eps; every act brought something different. Let’s start like all good stories do, from the beginning.
The opening acts
Unfortunately due to travel complications, I was unable to see the locals AztroGrizz. However, from the audience response when Murs shouted them out, I’d say they started the night off right. The first act that I saw (pictured above) was Cojo.
Cojo sounds like an artist who is intent on putting the work in to develop himself as an artist. While Cojo certainly has his own distinct sound, his tracks reflect that he is an artist in growth. This is by no means meant to say Cojo didn’t deliver, because he grabbed the energy from the previous act and made it bigger for the next artist.
Being one of the opening acts for this tour is likely one of the best things happening for his career. Learning and working with Lock Smith and Murs will absolutely help the aforementioned development. Cojo set the stage for Lock Smith to do his thing.
Lock Smith has the sound of an artist whose life experiences have been directly poured into his art. His songs reflect lessons learned while also being positive in spite of said lessons. It’s no wonder why Murs has this guy on the tour; he’s utilizing the energy of the night like a set-up reliever does for his closer. And said closer was very ready to end things on a powerful note.
And now, the headliner…
Murs has been in many different places throughout his career. He’s been a member of the legendary LA group Living Legends. He’s worked with 9th Wonder and Slug from Atmosphere on multiple successful projects. And, he’s had personal tragedy and heartbreak prior to signing with Tech Nine’s Strange Music. All of the accolades he has aren’t really what best describe a Murs concert, but rather, how his life reverberates through his music and his stories.
The Mid-City LA rapper has songs about everything imaginable. There were the classics like “H-U-S-T-L-E” and “Bad Man” setting the mood. Murs then wove in and out between upbeat tracks like this and more somber tones like “Mi Corazon” and “Remember 2 Forget”. There were moments where he checked in with the audience to see who their favorite rapper was (it’s hard to say if Denver was more into Talib Kweli or Will Smith, but coincidentally Kweli and Murs have the same tour manager).
It’s always hard to fully describe a Murs concert, not because of any one song but more so because every emotion you can think of comes up. The veteran emcee ended with his signature closing track “Everything” from his 2008 “Murs For President” album (the first Murs album I ever listened to). That track grabs the audience for one more interaction, leaving the crowd with closure.
There’s a reason Murs has been performing in Denver for around two decades (and why I’ve been listening for over 11 years). If you haven’t had a chance to listen to him, well now you can below for starters.