Friday, April 4, 2014

Revisiting Keith Murray's "Enigma"

Heading into 1996, Keith Murray was definitely on a hot streak. Going back to '95, he blessed LL Cool J's classic "I Shot Ya" remix, along with Prodigy from Mobb Deep, Fat Joe and Foxy Brown, and the guest appearances didn't stop there. Moving back to '96, he blazed hot classics with Busta Rhymes, Redman, UGK and Frankie Cutlass, in which all of this brings us to his sophomore album, "Enigma." I couldn't wait for this one to drop.

 Release date- November 26, 1996

All songs produced by Erick Sermon, except #6 (produced by The Ummah)

1. Intro
Standard intro from Keith. No matter what the haters say, he's still going to keep doing his thing. If you said something about him in any form, especially on a record, trust and believe he would see you.

2. Call My Name

"Call my name and I'll come runnin, gunnin/All y'all bummy niggas will get done in"

"You laughin at Keith but you cryin at ya self/Cause beef wit Keith, is bad for ya health"

Apply titled banger right here. Whether it's in the booth or the streets, call Mr. Murray and he's right there.
*4 out of 5*

3. Manique (Original Rules)

Laced with a well timed Brandy sample and an LL Cool J influenced hook, Keith is the man in charge here, in what is my second or third favorite song on the album.
*4 out of 5*

4. Whut's Happenin

"Yeah it's the Mr. Keith Murray, the Mr. Pictionary/The Mr. quick to Fuck Shit up in a hurry"    

Keith asks the listeners whut's happenin, plus he answers that very question. Another good song.
*4 out of 5*

5. The Rhyme

 "I said it be's like that sometimes cause I can't control the rhyme!"

"The mad matador of metaphor/Flips the hardcore for him and his, them and theirs, you and yours"

Straight classic right here, featuring dope rhymes, a dope beat and another well timed sample, this one in the form of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly's "Before I Let Go," another classic. This was the only single he would release from the album.
  *5 out of 5*

6. Dangerous Ground 
Featuring 50 Grand

Keith and one half of L.O.D., 50 Grand, come nicely over this dope beat by The Ummah. I believe this was also on the movie soundtrack of the same name starring Ice Cube which came out in '97.
*4 out of 5*

7. Rhymin Wit Kel
Featuring Kel-Vicious

This joint, featuring the second half of L.O.D., was more fast paced than "Dangerous Ground," but still very good.
*4 out of 5*

8. What A Feelin

Courtesy of Total, we get the third well timed sample on this one. I'm sure it felt good to be as dope as one Keith Murray.
*4 out of 5*

9. Hot To Def

I've always liked it when Ohio Players' "Pride and Vanity" was utilized for a hip hop track, and this dope one is no different. Keith simply blesses it.
*4 out of 5*

10. Yeah
Featuring Erick Sermon, Busta Rhymes, Jamal and Redman

Any time there was a collabo like this, it was bound to be a classic, and that's what we get here. All involved come through with tight verses, and Redman closes it perfectly.
*5 out of 5*

11. Love L.O.D.
Featuring L.O.D.

Crew love all around on this one. Keith, Kel and 50 display nice chemistry on this fast paced song. I wish it was a little longer.
*4 out of 5*

12. To My Mans
Featuring Dave Hollister

I really like this one right here; Keith reminisces on loved ones, family and friends, he had lost over the years. He was very introspective here and it added a lot to the song. All things considered, this should've closed the album.
*5 out of 5*

13. World Be Free

"Ayo, anywhere I go definitely rep for mine/Cause I'm constantly in a Def Squad state of mind"

That line above sums up this "all over the world" track in a nutshell. No matter where he went at the time, you could count on Keith dropping some Def Squad jewels.
*4 out of 5*

14. The Rhyme (Remix)

This remix is on par with the original in my view. Same lyrics, another dope beat.
*4 out of 5*

Keith Murray did it again with his sophomore album. At times I still go back and forth about whether I like this album more than his debut or not. Both have a strong nostalgic vibe with me, and now when I think about it, I'll admit to liking this one a little more than his debut. Something about "Enigma" flows a bit better than his debut. Overall, Keith brought the lyrical goods over dope Erick Sermon production, and to this day the album is more slept on than its predecessor, definitely his most underrated album too. 4 stars for this one.    

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