“If you’re listening, if you’re tuned in/ it’s been an epic saga, a tale of two friends.”
In 2004, Murs teamed up with 9th Wonder to start their adventure together with Murs 3:16: The 9th Edition. Those who tuned in found a critically acclaimed effort, one that began this journey triumphantly. Since their ’04 release, both Murs and 9th have continued their work together every two years with ‘06’s Murray’s Revenge, ‘08’s Sweet Lord and 2010’s Fornever. However, they have also moved on to other ventures. Still, it all comes full circle with their Final Adventure as Murs and 9th Wonder close the books on their saga.
With this release, Murs shows that his lyrical blades have only sharpened with time. “Funeral for a Killer” is an introspective, thought provoking piece. With insightful dialog about the streets, it’s almost as if it continues to build off of 3:16’s lauded “Walk like a Man.” “Tale of Two Cities” does the same, this time pleading for unity. “Too many died in my city,” Murs laments on the track. “Imagine if we all unified in my city.” Elsewhere, Murs is able to tackle other topics with the same passion. “Walk like a Woman,” an obvious nod to their first project, also shows how much growth he’s experienced, going from a self-proclaimed “girl groupie” to a married man in love. “So glad that I found you when I did,” he declares on the track. “You changed my life, gave me new reasons to live.” Going from ‘04’s “The Pain” to this joy also shows that progression well. While relationship-based songs abound on this 10-track release, Murs is also able to speak on more. Exploring other life changing events, he explains his personal journey with faith, sharing doubts, questions and beliefs with sincerity on “A Better Way.” Still, it’s not just a one-man show and both deserve credit for the Final Adventure.
That’s because 9th Wonder also delivers as sharply as ever. From the outset, 9th shows that he is still as soulful as he was on their first record together, trusting samples and hard snares for the heavy lifting. It makes sense that 9th would continue with his working formula, from the familiar sounds on “Intro” for Rapsody and Murs to the sped up sample on “It’s Over.” Still, 9th manages to change up the pace often on this short album, allowing Murs’ aggression, sadness and passion to shine on the aforementioned “Tale of Two Cities” and “Funeral for a Killer,” while still bringing a more mellow vibe to follow with “Babygirl (Holding Hands).” Speaking of changing up the pace, 9th does this masterfully three times on “Walk like a Woman,” again taking a page from their first journey to bring it home.
It’s clear that Murs and 9th Wonder had a task here: finishing their saga as strongly as they started it. With The Final Adventure, the duo does just that, crafting an album that speaks on a variety of topics over soulful instrumentation, much like on 3:16. This time, they managed to tie up loose ends, showing the growth of the boy who once hustled recyclables (“H.U.S.T.L.E.”) now proudly acknowledging that he is behind Paid Dues. The boy who was alone on “The Pain” became the smiling groom on “Walk Like a Woman.” And while this may not be the end of their individual careers, it’s safe to say it’s over for them as a duo. “That’s all, folks. That’s all that she wrote,” Murs says as the album closes. “It’s over and it’s finished. We gon’ end it on a good note.” And that’s precisely what they did.