Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Murs: . . . The End of the Beginning [Definitive Jux, 2003]
Born 1978, which means L.A.'s Living Legends kingpin released his first single at 15 and is already an old pro on his first major-minor album. Like so many undie hip-hoppers, especially black ones, Murs sells common sense where the big boys deal mythology. He avoids beef until his best friend comes under the gun, has trouble making the rent and trouble holding onto a buck, and comes up with advice for the little brother he knows isn't him: "Keep it gangsta in your CD changer not your residence." A commanding rapper who can separate the simple beats from the dull ones, he peaks when he calls in the auxiliaries. Humpty Hump and Shock G help out on a Risky Business rewrite. And Aesop Rock joins an exasperated praise song for their favorite drug: serotonin uptake inhibitors. A-