It started with a collaboration two years ago and has grown into a movement. Murs and ¡Mayday! worked together on “Hardcore Bitches,” a fan favorite from ¡Mayday!’s 2012 album, Take Me To Your Leader. The musical chemistry led to friendship and the friendship resulted in several performances together at 2014’s SXSW, among other locations.
Now, Murs and ¡Mayday! have combined for Mursday, a groundbreaking collaborative album that combines two of rap’s most popular independent acts and two of its best, most polished performers. The result is an album overflowing with the passion, enthusiasm and energy that both Murs and ¡Mayday! bring to their remarkable live shows.
“My intention was to make something that was light, that was celebratory,” Murs says of Mursday. “I wanted to get with them and do something fun. Every time I’ve seen them, they’ve just been fun guys and I don’t feel like a lot of the stuff that’s released on Strange showcases that side of them, so we decided we wanted to do something more upbeat and fun. Also, both of our live shows are very high-energy and I wanted to do something that would translate well. So when you see it live, the chemistry we had in the studio and on the album would all come together when you see it live.”
Murs relocated to ¡Mayday!’s Miami homebase to record the album. With ¡Mayday! handling the production and ¡Mayday! rappers Wrekonize and Bernz collaborating with Murs on the vocals, the trio decided to employ the tag-team style that was a signature of landmark rap recordings from the Beastie Boys, Leaders of the New School, Onyx and De La Soul and others into Mursday.
“It’s almost a lost art where people cut each other off, do a couple lines,” Murs says. “Since we were all there, I really wanted us to collaborate and do more than you rap, I rap and then we’re done.”
That chemistry and vocal sparring shines on “Tabletops,” a nod to the origins of many a rapper’s career. “It speaks on such a simple thing that we all come from as hip-hip kids, the energy of the lunchroom sessions banging on the lunchroom table,” Wrekonize says. “It’s such a fundamentally organic feeling that you never lose.”
The vibe recording Mursday (which is a combination of Murs’ and ¡Mayday!’s names, as well as the name of a song from Murray’s Revenge, Murs’ 2006 album with 9th celebratory that it led to “My Own Parade.”
“A conversation come up where we had a discussion about feeling so good that you feel like you’ve got to have your own parade,” Wrekonize says. “It’s also a subtle undertone of the whole album, a parade heading down the street that affects everybody that it comes past.”
For his part, Bernz fell into such a groove recording Mursday that the crew decided to record “Zones,” a song that, among other things, is an ode to being lost in your work. “I love that moment of music-making when the song is just kind of birthed and it’s about to become something that you know is about to be great,” Bernz says. “You’ve got that excitement in the room and the energy that’s created by the creative interaction with people.”
Bernz’s interaction with a friend who is incarcerated led to “Serges Song,” a song performed in Spanish and English where Bernz, Murs and Wrekonize detail the interaction between someone who is incarcerated and their friend who is not, a la Nas’ “One Love.” “New Years Day” contains similar heft. It’s a tune about going in tonight like there’s no tomorrow. “It’s like looking in the face of total destruction and being super chill with it,” Wrekonize says. “I liked the contrast there.”
Murs and ¡Mayday! then deliver a moving song for the loners with “Here,” pay homage to women and the new wave of currency with “Bitcoin Beezy” and deliver a love letter to the road and to women with “New Toys (Hey Love).”
It’s fitting Murs and ¡Mayday! crafted a song about the road on Mursday. After all, Murs built his brand and his career as a member of Living Legends and as a solo artist by traveling the globe performing at venues small and large. Similarly, ¡Mayday! became one of the most popular live rap crews in the Miami area before branching out in the Southeastern United States. Their shows and music led to work with Lil Wayne and Cee Lo Green, among others, before the group signed with Strange Music and released two albums on the independent powerhouse, 2012’s Take Me To Your Leader and 2013’s Believers.
So, when the time came for Mursday, each party knew that they could combine to record an album that could incorporate their strengths. “In our minds, it was always going to be a collaborative album,” Murs says. “A lot of it was inspired because I think we’d do a dope live show together. That’s why it’s a lot of back-and-forth Beastie Boys style, because it’s not fun being on stage and waiting for someone to do 16 bars before it’s your turn.”
The results have Murs achieving one of his long-time goals. “This is definitely a great summer album and I’ve always wanted to make a summer album,” he says. “I’ve never had the chance and this is it. It’s definitely my summer-time record. It’s something I’ve been dying to do for a long time.”
For ¡Mayday!, Mursday presents both Murs and ¡Mayday! at their finest. “We came together and made an album without compromising each other’s styles,” Wrekonize says. “We’re from different schools, different coasts. But, we came together and made a cohesive collaboration album with someone who is known for collaboration albums.”