Keith Murray is your favorite rapper's favorite rapper. He is the guy who can take a bunch of utter nonsense and turn it into a few lines that will make you have to go and get a dictionary. He is also arguably the best member of Def Squad, a group that includes Redman and Erick Sermon.
Basically, Keith Murray is pretty freaking awesome.
Murray (that is also his government name, by the way) started his career by battling the legendary Big Daddy Kane under the alias MC Do Damage (good thing he decided to stick with his actual name). Shortly thereafter, he was introduced to Erick Sermon by K-Solo.
That was when Keith Murray made his actual debut, as Sermon included Keith on his first solo album, No Pressure. Murray appeared on the song "Hostile," and an extremely successful career was born.
Just over a year after Keith Murray's cameo on No Pressure, he released his first LP, The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World. Featuring production almost exclusively by E-Dub, the project would proceed to achieve gold status by 1995.
During this time period, Murray also guest starred on several other tracks of prominent artists, most notably LL Cool J's "I Shot Ya" remix which caused a bit of a stir due to the East Coast-West Coast feud that was going on at the time. 2Pac assumed the record was about him (even though it wasn't), and it actually led to an altercation between Pac and Keith. No fisticuffs were thrown, but it's still worth mentioning regardless.
Even though most people gravitate toward Redman (who is obviously pretty freaking awesome in his own right), it should be understood that Keith Murray is actually the most talented rapper in Def Squad. When it comes to lyrics, punchlines and metaphors, not many artists are seeing Keith.
So, without further ado, let's get to Keith Murray's debut album.
1. Live From New York
Your standard album intro. At least the background music was pretty cool.
You can tell right off the bat that The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World was made during sort of a transition period for Erick Sermon. His beats had advanced past the old-school EPMD stage, but they were caught in between Redman's Whut? Thee Album and the style E-Dub would soon become most known for. Anyway, this song is pretty damn good. Sermon's instrumental knocks, and Keith Murray impresses immediately on the mic, even if the hook was fairly lame.
3. Dip Dip Di
One of three tracks on the album that isn't produced by Erick Sermon, but to be perfectly honest, the producer extraordinaire isn't missed. "Dip Dip Di" bangs. Rod "KP" Kirkpatrick's production is awesome (those claps in particular are ill), and Keith rips it to shreds. Once again, though, the chorus stinks. That's not too big of a deal, though. This is pretty great regardless.
4. The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World
This is probably Keith Murray's most well-known record, possibly due to the fact that Erick Sermon's beat utilizes the same Isley Brothers sample that was used for The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Big Poppa." For what it's worth, "The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World" blows Biggie's cut out of the water (and let's face it: "Big Poppa" wasn't exactly one of the best songs on Ready To Die, anyway). You've gotta love Murray's "the astronomical is comin' through like the flu bombin' you" line, a bar that he would later regurgitate on the hook of my favorite track in his catalog, "What a Feelin'." Anyway, this title track freaking knocks.
5. Herb Is Pumpin'
One of the best parts about The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World is the length of the records. All of them are short, sweet and to the point, and "Herb Is Pumpin'" is no exception. If you don't nod your head to this, you're probably a robot...or just devoid of any emotion whatsoever, which would basically make you a robot...right? Anyway, E-Dub's instrumental bangs, and Keith Murray comes through with his usual impeccable flow to tear it to pieces.
7. Straight Loonie
One of the other three cuts on the project that wasn't laced by Erick Sermon. Rod Kirkpatrick and Busta Rhymes (of all people) are actually on the boards for this one. I'm not exactly sure how much input Busta had in crafting this production, but he's credited, so that's that. E-Dub drops a verse on here, though, and if you didn't look at the liner notes, you would think Onyx had stopped by, as Sermon gets his best Sticky Fingaz impression on. Actually, Keith Murray gets his Onyx on, too. I guess Jamal, another one of Murray's Def Squad brethren who is also featured here, didn't get the memo, as he sounds pretty, well, normal. Oh, this song is really freaking good, by the way.
This is decent. It's not as good as every other track leading up to it, and Keith actually sounds slightly disinterested, but it's still solid regardless and would be the best record on just about any album in 2013.
9. Get Lifted
Keith Murray talking about getting high? Never. That little snide remark aside, this is pretty damn good, but what's with Erick Sermon using the same samples that were present on Ready To Die? "Get Lifted" contains the same sample as B.I.G.'s "Respect." Once again, though, Keith Murray's cut obliterates Biggie's, even if his "weed is knowledge because it makes me think" line was kind of...well, okay; it was funny.
10. How's That
This is another one of those songs that sounds like it could have been on Whut? Thee Album, especially considering that Redman is on this track. E-Dub drops a verse of his own. This was just alright, though.
11. The Chase
12. Take It To The Streetz
Guests 50 Grand (who would appear again on Keith Murray's second album Enigma) and Ron Jay appear on this record, which is really kind of boring. Ron Jay sounds a bit like Keith, so I guess that's something.
13. Bom Bom Zee
The actual sound quality of this cut is terrible, and the fact that Hurricane G is here doesn't help matters much. Seriously; why does Def Squad insist on including her on their albums? Well, at least this is short, but this album is experiencing quite a significant lull at this point.
This is the final song on The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World that wasn't laced by Erick Sermon. Instead, Redman hops behind the boards to craft the beat here, and that was probably a bad idea, unless you want a sleep-inducing instrumental to help cure your insomnia. As a result of the bland production, Keith Murray isn't able to really go off. It kind of sucks that this is the longest track on the album, too.
16. The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World (Green-Eyed Remix)
This actually sounds strikingly similar to the original, but that's not a bad thing. We could all use a bit more of this record in our lives, and it helps to somewhat offset what was a pretty piss-poor second-half of the album.
The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World gets off to an incredible start, but halfway through, it falls flat on its face and never gets up. Still, the first half of the album is so damn good that you can easily see why many feel this project deserves a mention among the classics.
You'll likely come away with one definitive thought after listening to The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World, and it's that Keith Murray is an incredible MC. He is consistently entertaining, spitting rhymes that are both hilarious and thought-provoking at the same time. It would help if more of the beats on this LP were more engaging, but enough of them work to highlight Murray's skills.
The good news is, Erick Sermon only got better as a producer from this point on. As a matter of fact, two years later in 1996, E-Dub crafted what I think are the two best works of his career: Redman's Muddy Waters and Keith Murray's Enigma. Think of the first half of The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World as sort of a preview of what was to come.
So, what's the final verdict on Keith's first album? Well, it's certainly a good release that absolutely deserves a listen. Again, the first five full songs on this LP are so phenomenal that you'll find yourself not caring too much about the fact that the latter portion of the project is fairly lackluster.
If you're a fan of either of Redman's first two albums, then you'll likely be fond of The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World. My advice is to listen to this at least once, and if nothing else, track down "Herb Is Pumpin'" and put it in your playlist.
1. Herb Is Pumpin'
2. The Most Beautifullest Thing In This World
3. Dip Dip Di
4. Straight Loonie