An album by Murda D
Review presented by Warren Peace
Listen to “Murda Unleashed” by Murda D
Back in December, the last day of the year to be exact, I was contacted by executive producer Aaron Candelora about reviewing Underground Unleashed. Underground Unleashed is a compilation album featuring an incredibly deep roster of emcees and an instrumental engineer team that won the Album Instrumentals of the Year title at The Write Awards. All of the award winners received a review/promotion package from The Write Reviews, and Aaron Candelora decided to use his prize package on Murda Unleashed, an album executive produced by Aaron Candelora and performed by the emcee known as Murda D. Immediately I was interested, not just because of the great experience I had listening to Underground Unleashed, but also because I had the opportunity to hear Murda D on a few tracks during the last year and really enjoy his emotional, aggressive delivery. Now that I have a full length album before me, let’s see how Murda D’s debut record, Murda Unleashed, fairs in my track by track breakdown.
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1- Are You Ready?
With an aggressive approach and an instrumental that blends a horror movie feel with an immediate intensity, Murda D opens Murda Unleashed by asking “Are You Ready?”. This hook of the track is likely to lodge itself in the minds of listeners once the phrase ‘Are you ready’ is recycled several times to kick everything off. As the phrase is repeated, Murda D speaks a few words that coincide with the track’s catch-phrase. His first set of bars includes some punchlines that doesn’t connect with the audience as well as Murda D would have liked and a broad angle in terms of the self-hype topic, more or less, Murda D has chosen to begin the album. Murda D demonstrates a smooth flow and commanding microphone presence, proving his confidence isn’t lacking. Neither of the verses on “Are You Ready?” are much different from the other. A few areas feel a little forced in terms of rhyming and rhyme schemes. “Are You Ready?” is a solid introduction to “Murda Unleashed”, but I felt Murda D should have came harder on a choice of subject matter that isn’t really original.
2- Toe Tagged
“Toe Tagged” features an instrumental with heavy bass and a bit of urgency tied into the rhythm. Murda D gets right into the first verse, kind of lost for a definite direction in his bars. From self-hype lines to admitting a desire to be successful to reflecting on past relationships to a self-destructive nature, Murda D covers a lot of ground in his first round of bars. The hook attempts to put a little more perspective on the track, relaying the message of “murdering the beat” to the audience, which is probably not going to clear the air for listeners due to Murda D opting out of going with a full blown lyrical verse in the beginning. The hook is really well written, and is probably going to assist in creating an energetic feel for listeners along with the music. The second verse follows the picture painted by the hook better than the first. Murda D is able to squeeze some imagery into his lines while delivering more of a personal feeling to his bars. Even still, Murda D doesn’t really separate himself from the pack in the way the track says he will. The hook repeats several times to bring the track to a close. “Toe Tagged” does well to display Murda D’s consistent flow and demanding presence with the microphone, but without much wordplay, metaphors, or hard-hitting punchlines that should be prominent on a track like this, Murda D leaves something to be desired for true hip hop heads.
3- Don’t Know
“Don’t Know” has a quick intro involving a conversation between two people who are obviously making a drug deal that gets interrupted by police. The music hits hard with bass immediately, and provides an element of intensity that has helped every instrumental transition between beats go unnoticed by the audience. The hook uses the repeating phrase technique heard on “Are You Ready?”, but Murda D breaks things up a bit on “Don’t Know”, which will likely prove to be more enjoyable for listeners. Within his bars, Murda D sticks with a topic and is able to use imagery coupled with a few metaphors to paint a picture of the punishments that snitches will face for their actions as well as how it is expected for players in the drug game to keep a code of silence. “Don’t Know” is the third track in a row to include two verses, but fortunately Murda D switches up his song structure and masks this similarity really well. “Don’t Know”, which may not be my favorite track of the album, is a very solid addition to Murda Unleashed and proves itself worthy enough to be mentioned on the Featured Tracks list.
4-Life In The Streets
From the very moment the music comes through the speakers, I have a feeling “Life In The Streets” is going to be my favorite track on Murda Unleashed up to this point. The instrumental hits hard and provides a feeling of energy that will easily influence the audience. The hook is well written, delivered with an energy that matches the music, and will have no problem catching on to anyone listening. Real life situations that occur as a result of living a street life, as well as some insight provided by to the listeners who may not be as familiar with the street life, fill each line that Murda D delivers through the speakers. He never swerves from the topic at hand, and his verses compliment the hook and music very well. My early expectations were met on “Life In The Streets”, and another track gets tacked on with the Featured Tracks.
In more ways than one, “Outlaw” reminds me of “Toe Tagged”. The hook seems to take the song one direction while the content in the verses feels scattered and doesn’t seem to be following the hook’s lead. Speaking of the hook, “Outlaw” sports a chorus that repeats the phrase “I’m an outlaw” with Murda D breaking up the repetition by inserting a line between rounds of the repeating phrase. For this to be five tracks into Murda Unleashed, this is feeling a bit overdone when it comes to the hooks. Murda D does mix some wordplay and metaphors in his lyrics for “Outlaw” and is able to tie his words into the central topic of the hook with more effectiveness as the track progresses. I like the choice of music on this song, as I have with all of the beats on the album so far, as it has a contagious bounce to its rhythm. Overall, “Outlaw” is a good track with more appeal than “Toe Tagged”, but still has too similar of an approach and presentation to some of the previous songs that keeps this track from standing out in any way.
6- Doin’ What I Want
Murda D kicks off “Doin’ What I Want” with a single round of the hook before laying into the first verse of the track. Swinging some punchlines while developing his “do it my way” attitude, Murda D is able to use a lyrical formula similar to what was used on “Toe Tagged” and “Outlaw”, but with better results due to the lyrical formula (for lack of better terminology) being more of a fit for the subject at the center of the song. Of course, it is helpful that the hook has a completely different format in its presentation, giving the audience something fresh. Murda D does seem to have a couple areas to his flow that feel a little off, and more so than I noticed in any of the previous songs. Also, and this will be noticed more by hip hop fans who are truly into the lyrical side of the genre, Murda D leans on the word “like” heavily from line to line this far into Murda Unleashed. Similes are great tools for a writer of any kind, but metaphors are a much stronger element that can be adapted in countless ways and are not limited to leaning on words such as “like”. Call my mention of this petty all you wish, the truth is the repetition of any word during the course of an album will stick out to listeners when it is all said and done. The playback value of a metaphor compared to a simile is undeniable as well. Many people like the mystery involved in deciphering a metaphor over having everything plainly put out there for them. That being said, “Doin’ What I Want” has more positives than negatives by far and just barely misses the mark to be the next Featured Track.
7- Left Me feat. Legion
“Left Me” features an instrumental that doesn’t carry the intensity and heavy bass that I was beginning to expect from each track on Murda Unleashed. A few bars into the first verse and it seems safe to say the topic of choice is past relationships. Murda D delivers his lyrics with a fierce push of emotion behind the words while painting a picture of being a good man to his lady, just to have her leave him without a reason, apparently. Near the end of the verse, Murda D attacks her directly by saying she is crazy, more or less. I really, really like how the beat switches to a heavy rock and roll feel for the chorus. I feel this type of sound might be the perfect fit for Murda D’s delivery. The hook is well written, catchy, and sure to connect with the audience. Legion’s delivery brings crystal clear vocals as he follows Murda D’s lead on the topic of choice with a timely flow and a touch of imagery. The hook comes around a few more times before I realized the track was coming to a conclusion, adding another Featured Track to Murda Unleashed.
8- Freak feat. I Am Gilgamesh
Diving right into the purpose of the track, Murda D begins explaining why he is a freak to the audience almost immediately. His flow develops a cadence that marches along with the rhythm of the beat while he spits lines about his strange tendencies that lead him to be called a freak. The hook, which is nothing more than a constant repeating of the phrase “I’m a freak”, won’t have any trouble getting stuck in the minds of listeners. On the second verse, Murda D brings bloody imagery with his hardcore style. His flow falls in time with the music, but would feel smoother with a few multiple syllable rhymes implemented in his rhyme schemes. I Am Gilgamesh uses an extensive vocabulary and keeps his flow in line for the most part, but doesn’t really deliver any lines that stand out to me. “Freak” has a definite audience, but that audience isn’t going to be the majority, and anyone outside of that audience aren’t very likely to find “Freak” appealing.
9- Voices feat. Playboy the Beast
“Voices” eerily creeps through the speakers, taking longer to hit full speed than the other songs on the album. Murda D opens the track, clearly developing the idea behind “Voices” within the first few lines. Hitting the instrumental with a solid rhythm to his words, he spits one of his best verses overall as he blends a little bit of wordplay with metaphors that match up to the subject matter. The creepy horror movie feel created by the instrumental is fitting for the content Murda D and Playboy the Beast bring to the track. Murda D’s quick delivery rides well with the beat. Murda D hits home with his metaphors and builds a pretty incredible round of lyrics that will be hard for Playboy the Beast to match, honestly. The hook is catchy and adds to the mood of the song. I do wish the “here” ending to the first and third lines of the hook was changed up, but that would be my only complaint on this track. Playboy the Beast takes the second verse and rolls out his lyrics with great timing while pushing Murda D for the better verse. Murda D comes back on the third verse though, picking up his flow where he left off with the first verse. Using an approach that involves more graphic imagery, Murda D is able to paint a vivid picture for the audience.
10- I Don’t Really Care feat. Samson Samson and Crossworm
The hook, which has a way of replaying in listeners’ minds after the song is over, starts off the track. Samson Samson takes off with the lead off verse, spitting lyrics in quick succession. A few metaphors and lines laced with imagery later, the audience is left with the impression that Samson Samson doesn’t really care. Murda D enters the track next, slamming line after line on time with the music and following Samson Samson’s lead lyrically. Throwing some wordplay in the mix, Murda D is able to raise the bar a bit with his content. Crossworm makes his presence felt with the last verse, bringing a shock rap style as he spits rhyme schemes that flow like water
One more round of the hook brings the song to a conclusion, and finds “I Don’t Really Care” among the Featured Tracks for Murda Unleashed.
11- Find Out Quick feat. Dubbs
The instrumental for “Find Out Quick” has a terrific drum line that is able to combine a feeling of intensity with making you want to bounce to the beat. Dubbs opens “Find Out Quick” with his flow that always seems to appeal to the audience and bars that demand the attention of your ears. An aggressive tone helps to bring his horrorcore lyrics to life. The hook is likeable and easy to follow along with, even during the first listen. Murda D spits more of a multiple rhyme scheme styled flow in the second verse than he has in most of the previous tracks, which makes his flow even more fluid and bold against the backdrop of the instrumental. Delivering a horrorcore/shock rap set of bars for the remaining two verses, Murda D sticks with a familiar territory. There is a small difference that makes a noticeable impact though, and that’s the previously mentioned rhyme schemes’ effect on D’s presentation. Dubbs ends the track with another push of the hook through the speakers. “Find Out Quick” is quick to find out about giving Murda Unleashed another Featured Track to put on its list.
12- F.A.D.E.D. feat. Bloke C
Featuring an instrumental that changes direction from the darker vibes we have heard through most of the album, “F.A.D.E.D.” gives Murda D the chance to elaborate on a topic many hip hop artists have touched on over the years. Actually, the subject of marijuana has been brought up so much that audiences don’t expect original content anymore; they simply decided whether or not the song is enjoyable. Murda D leads off by diving into the first verse. Painting a picture of his everyday life as a smoker, Murda D expresses his desire to hit the clouds and adds some bragging about how good his bud is. The hook is pretty catchy and cleverly written, although not very complex. Murda D comes back for another round, continuing to brag about how much better his weed is than yours while maintaining a smooth flow. Bloke C comes through the speakers for the final verse, speeding his flow up to double time in some spots as he spits lyrics that matches Murda D’s content. Bloke C switches up his delivery several times though, adding another layer to the song and making it more entertaining. “F.A.D.E.D.” is a good addition to Murda Unleashed, but doesn’t stand out enough to be considered a Featured Track.
13- Hatas’ Gon Hate
The chorus puts everything about this song in perspective right away. There’s something about the hook that I’m not really feeling; I think it’s the writing behind the delivery. It’s likely to stick in the minds of some listeners, though. Murda D takes on another subject that many hip hop artists have already tackled, and proceeds to do so from a lyrical angle on all three verses. Murda D doesn’t really bring the heat in his bars on this one, and his flow is even noticeably off in a couple spots. To be quite honest, I felt like Murda D spits a lot of filler lines throughout the entire track. “Hatas Gon Hate” is easily my choice for least favorite song on the album at this point.
14- By My Side feat. Sleep Lyrical
The instrumental starts off slow and doesn’t pick up the pace much when it comes time for Sleep Lyrical to deliver a well written hook that comes through the speakers with an obvious hint of sadness. Sleep Lyrical continues through the chorus into the first verse as he speaks about someone he used to consider a close friend and how he realized he needed to get away from that person. Sleep Lyrical’s flow is on point and his content explains the situation very well, giving the audience a visual experience as he drops his lines. After the hook slides by again, Murda D grabs the mic and tells a story of his own regarding a former friend he grew up with. His flow is top tier on this track, and the picture he paints with his words will be felt by any audience. It’s pretty incredible how both emcees are able to come together on this track and speak of nearly identical situations. Obviously I can relate, and I have no doubt many listeners will be able to as well. “By My Side” joins the Featured Tracks with ease.
15- Better Or Worse
It would take too much of your time for me to explain how quickly I connected with this track. The beat carries an addictive bass and switches up as the song progresses, which is something I really enjoy. The instrumental is right up there with my favorite beats of “Better Or Worse”. Murda D hits the hook hard from the jump, spitting well written lyrics that will be felt by anyone within earshot while enhancing the instrumental by giving the song direction. The first verse puts some perspective out there for the audience. Murda D doesn’t have an absolutely perfect flow to his words, but the couple of bumps won’t be noticed by many. He mentions faults and weaknesses he has had as well as where he wants to go in life as he moves forward. There are a lot of lines that the audience will connect with while a couple of areas remain a little vague and could be more specific. However, I feel like Murda D probably had so many emotions and things he wanted to get out that it blinded him a bit from realizing there was some bars that would be a little unclear. As I type this, I feel Murda D realizes it now and probably understands what I’m saying. Regardless of these minor complaints, “Better Or Worse” makes its mark on my Featured Tracks for Murda Unleashed.
16- Thank You
Not a lot to say here as the title sums everything up. Murda D comes through the speakers very clearly as he names off the people he wants to thank for their parts played in the completion of Murda Unleashed.
17- Fate (Bonus Track)
Bringing the album to a close is the bonus track “Fate”, which adds to the great instrumentals chosen for Murda Unleashed. The only freeverse among the seventeen songs on the track list, “Fate” might very well be Murda D’s deepest round of bars. Emotions run rampant as he delivers line after line of heartfelt, thought-provoking lyrics. His flow simply spills through the speakers, easily gripping anyone who takes a moment to hear it. Usually, emcees choose to use freeverse type tracks for lyrical assaults, but Murda D decides to bring a poem to life with an approach that splits spoken word and rapping. I truly enjoyed everything about “Fate”, and feel it isn’t just a great track but it’s also a fantastic finish to Murda Unleashed and adds another element to Murda D that isn’t heard anywhere else on the album. After all that, it’s needless to say that “Fate” concludes Murda Unleashed with another addition to the Featured Tracks list.
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Don’t Know, Life In The Streets, Left Me, Voices, I Don’t Really Care, Find Out Quick, By My Side, Better Or Worse, and Fate.
The Write Up
For his first album, it can easily be said that Murda D made huge strides. His delivery, filled with a lot of emotion the majority of the time, and microphone presence are not to be questioned. His flow had some stumbles along the way, but usually took a dominate position over the instrumentals while enhancing the music. His story telling ability and poetic verses are fantastic, and he seems to find a great approach with topics to fit the beats. When it comes to all out lyricism, this is the area Murda D could use work, although he is definitely better than average. At the end of it all, Murda Unleashed is not an album to be overlooked and deserves to be heard by hip hop fans at least once.
(4 out of 5 stars)
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