It’s hard to believe that it’s been 15 years since California emcee Murs and North Carolina’s 9th Wonder collaborated on Murs 3:16. Back then, Murs was still part of Cali underground collective Living Legends, while 9th Wonder was putting his soulful thump behind Little Brother and making a name for himself by producing Jay-Z’s “Threat” off his then-retirement project The Black Album.
Five albums and fifteen years later, a lot has changed for both emcees. 9th Wonder has become one of the most sought-after producers in the entire industry, while Murs remains one of the most respected wordsmiths out of the California area, with a collection of critically acclaimed albums.
It appeared that the duo’s tenure had run its course in 2012, and both would go their separate ways. But like Hov’s supposed swan song, The Final Adventure ended up not being the end of the road for the emcee/producer team.
It may have taken seven years, but the wait was well worth it. Project number six, titled The Iliad is Dead & The Odyssey Is Over, is a 12-track offering that finds Murs at it again with 9th Wonder and The Soul Council collective. Guests on the album include Rapsody, GQ, Cojo, Heather Victoria, Pookie Blow and $ilk Money.
“I didn’t take this lightly,” Murs tells Billboard. “I sacrificed weeks away from my family, to write in seclusion and work with this team and hopefully make my best album to date. I am a true artist and my aim for the past two decades has been to master my craft. I am not an athlete. My age and longevity is not a limitation, it is a blessing. My focus isn’t what’s best for my brand — it’s what’s best for the music.”
As the duo’s sixth outing prepares for impact on July 19, they’ve shared a video for “Night Shift.” The set of visuals blends concert footage with some candid moments in Murs’ life alongside fans, friends and family at various locations.
“It is an honor and a privilege to still be working with one the greatest producers of all time,” Murs adds of 9th Wonder. “This time around, I was blessed not only to work with the Soul Council, which consists of some of best producers in the game, but names like Nottz, Eric G, Khrysis, and Kash.” The latter team was also behind one of Murs’ favorite albums of the past decade, Rapsody’s Laila’s Wisdom.
The North Carolina producer echoes the sentiments from his friend and partner in rhyme, but takes it a step further when it comes to the bond that they’ve forged over the past decade and a half. “It’s not about Murs and I releasing new music, it’s a family affair at this point,” 9th Wonder says. “I think it’s more about that than anything.”
Watch Murs and 9th’s video of “Night Shift” below.