Murs (from Living Legends) and Slug (from Atmosphere) return with their third Felt project entitled Felt3: A Tribute To Rosie Perez. For those of you who don’t know, Felt reaches out to a new producer for each album. On the first felt (A Tribute To Christina Ricci), the album featured production by Living Legend member The Grouch. The second album (A Tribute To Lisa Bonet) was produced by Atmosphere’s Ant. This time around they went outside of their groups and selected indie artist/producer Aesop Rock. Murs and Slug picked the right guy if they want a real indie sounding album. Let’s just hope that the three have good chemistry in doing so.
In my opinion, Murs and Slug are two of the most underrated emcees. They have both spent over ten years in the game, and are still looking for some respect. Both of these guys would definitely be in my top five underground artists. Slug had arguably the best album last year with When Life Gives You Lemons…. Murs’ first album with 9th Wonder (Murs 3:16 – The 9th Edition) is acclaimed to be an underground classic. Plus, what is there not to like about these two. If you listen close enough, their lyrics relate more to you than most other Hip-Hop today.
1. Protagonists Produced by Aesop Rock
This is the first (internet) single to promote the album. Aesop shapes a nice beat that Murs and Slug can spit over. Aesop is not afraid to display his producing style as he throws some nice guitars on the beat. This song explains what Felt is about, and I believe is a message to the fans that claimed they sold out. Here is a line Murs uses to prove his point, “We still spittin’ on that indie bullshit, Legends, Rhymsayers, Def Jux, the full clip”. This is a great start to the album.
2. Felt Chewed Up Produced by Aesop Rock
If you think the first song didn’t sound “underground” enough, then this will definitely twist your perspective. Aesop hits us with a beat that is reminiscent of Daddy X’s (Kottonmouth Kings) style. This song explains how Felt has been chewed up (in the rap game), but are still doing their thing. Once again, Murs shines on a few verses which show why he is a leader of the underground, “Our rhymes have a little bit more to give, so I give it, and I stay on tour to live”. Then, later, “I do it big on the independent tip, new car, no rims on the whip”. If that isn’t a hot underground line, then I don’t know what is.
3. Get Cake Produced by Aesop Rock
Aesop definitely makes his presence with the funky beat on the interlude “Get Cake”. This song sounds like it should be on a Cage album. I liked the video of this song to help promote the album, but I don’t think this should have made the final copy… well maybe if it wasn’t an interlude.
4. Bass For Your Truck Produced by Aesop Rock
Both Murs and Slug trade verses about a girl with serious issues. This is no surprise for Slug because he always has a couple of these songs on his albums. Murs keeps the same type of formula for this song and does it well. However, I’d still give the edge to Slug. He has one of the best styles of illustrating narratives. Another good thing about this track is the beat provided by Aesop Rock. You wouldn’t think the beat would fit the type of lyrics, but Murs and Slug have no problem with it. This is a definite standout for me.
5. Like You Produced by Aesop Rock
This track helps explain my introduction on how Felt is just like you and I. Their lyrics let you know that they are no better than you, and no different than you. This is why underground groups like Felt can do tours constantly. They are a Hip-Hop group that actually performs in front of their peers. The song has some nice lyrics now and then, but nothing that really stands out.
6. Permanent Standby Produced by Aesop Rock
Murs and Slug tell you two stories that involve some girls that went down the wrong path. Murs starts off telling you a tale about a girl who got lost in the big city. The story goes from a cocaine addiction to being taken advantage of to becoming a whore. In the end, she realizes she is too real for a city of plastic (hmm sounds like Vegas) and moves away from the city. Slug steps up next and speaks on girl that moved from the Desert to the Midwest. This girl not only goes through the cocaine and whore stage, but turns into an alcoholic as well. This narrative ends when the girl finds out that the Midwest is not for her too. The two emcees are real even when you compare them on this track. They both speak on similar stories and both display the art of storytelling.
7. Kevin Spacey Produced by Aesop Rock
Aesop drops his second interlude. It’s just as crazy as the first with wild voice samples. However, I prefer the first one over this.
8. Ghost Dance Deluxe Produced by Aesop Rock
After one listen, this song quickly reminds me of “My Alien Girlfriend” off Molemen’s Killing Fields album. They both are about those certain type of females that seem too real to be true (such as a ghost or alien). The haunting beat really fits the theme of the song. The only difference between Murs and Slug’s verses is how they respond to the topic. Basically, Murs is the unbeliever and Slug is the believer. I’m feelin’ this one.
9. Revisiting The Styleetron Produced by Aesop Rock
Next up is an energetic track that will make about anybody in the mood to party. Slug drops an interesting verse, “I’m like X-Y-& Z, I stick by the back door, let it go free, that’s what the track’s for, my jobby job is rock a party, taught your mommy to karaoke La Di Da Di”. This line may not sound too clever, but you have to realize that this song (“La Di Da Di”) is one of the most sung songs in hip hop. This is how I like to see people use swagger.
10. Whaleface Produced by Aesop Rock
This is the first (non-instrumental) track that I would find average. Murs and Slug compare those haters (you know the ones who think their shit don’t stink) to whales. It’s a decent song, but nothing too significant about the lyrics or creativity.
11. Glory Burning Produced by Aesop Rock
Slug starts by describing a guy who is running from the police. He really paints the picture as he goes into deep detail about the setting and mood. Next, Murs jumps on the track and continues to describe what is going on in the guy’s head. Then, he switches up his lyrics and lets you know that he is talking about himself. Murs storytelling turns into a style where he is talking to himself, and sounds like he is losing his mind. The closer you listen to the lyrics, the more you will appreciate this song and Murs’ ingenuity. Plus, this is another Aesop Rock beat that perfectly fits the frame of mind.
12. Henrietta Longbottom Produced by Aesop Rock
The beats shine brighter each time I listen to the album. The delivery on this beat is flawless. Murs and Slug start rhyming about the rumors of Henrietta Longbottom. The rumors get crazier as the two continue to rhyme. In the end, Slug ends the rumors with a nice verse, “I don’t know if you care or if you invest, but Henrietta is dead, no more no less, never really met her, so I’m not losing sleep, but Longbottom is long gone, rest in peace”.
13. She Sonnet Produced by Aesop Rock
This is a tribute to all the people who doubted Felt: critics, fans, etc. I’m starting to think that Felt is growing a chip on their shoulder. There has been a lot of talk about them selling out after their last solo albums. What some people need to understand is that people can’t keep doing the same shit. I’m sorry haters, but Slug is better with a band than by himself. Why hate on a little change? And now Murs can’t get major producers on his albums because it means he sold out? Get the fuck outta here; I’m trying to listen to the best music possible… no matter who made the beat. Anyways, here is a line Murs used to describe what he’s trying to achieve, “Fuck a bitch, love a women, that’s my new motto/ Yeah, I’m ignorant but trying to be a role model”.
14. Felt Good Produced by Aesop Rock
This is a flat-out Hip-Hop song. There is no unexpected metaphors, no storytelling; just a nice display of lyricism. However, some of the lyrics are similar to the previous track “She Sonnet” – “breath, please, give me freedom and some peace, a fugee to the beast with the demons and police”.
15. Deathmurdermayhem Produced by Aesop Rock
Murs starts to rhyme (or mock) about those fake rappers who people love because of their image. On the other hand, Slug takes a more aggressive style, and speaks on what he wants to do to these hypocrites. The main point is to do Hip-Hop right. What I like most about this song is how they flipped the script. It may not be the artists selling out, but rather their fans. Maybe you’re the fake when you don’t really understand what you are listening to.
16. The Prize Produced by Aesop Rock
Where did Aesop go? Never mind, he’s definitely back on this track. This song is about “The Prize” or goal, and how some people aren’t achieving it because they are too busy worrying about somebody else’s. This is yet another track that might have some people looking in the mirror before they criticize again. Slug sums it up on the chorus, “I don’t even think you’re looking at the prize, I think you’re killing time looking at what’s mine”.
17. G.I. Josephine Produced by Aesop Rock
Felt is back with another symbolic song on “G.I. Josephine”. “G.I. Josephine” represents that female that all guys have respect for. This is that type of women that all men are searching for. Murs and Slug do a brilliant job showcasing their lyrics and originality on this one.
18. The Clap Produced by Aesop Rock
This is a short interlude by Slug. He says to picture someone and presume they have the clap (no herpes). It’s a little funny, but shouldn’t have been on the album. For the last interlude, I was hoping for something that involved Rosie Perez.
19. We Have You Surrounded Produced by Aesop Rock
You ever feel like you’ve been ripped off by an artist when you buy their album. Not because it wasn’t good, but because it seems like they don’t give a fuck about you? They never go on tour, and when they do, they are nowhere to be found after the show. Well then, this track is dedicated to you. Felt lets their fans know how much love they got for them. However, they do let you know how some fans get out of control too.
20. Give It Up Produced by Aesop Rock
I first want to touch on the beat by Aesop Rock. It starts almost like it should be on a film soundtrack, then it really takes off when Aesop mixes in some guitars and other sounds. The beat is nicely done and should be appreciated. The soundtrack lyrics shape the beat – like a movie after it reached its climax.
21. Paul Reubens Produced by Aesop Rock
Here, Murs and Slug have some fun on the microphone. I think they take a few jabs at the mainstream. Nevertheless, it sounds like they are taking a victory lap. They both do their thing, but I think Slug takes it on his last verse.
At the end of the day, everyone’s first question is how does this compare to the others albums? Personally, I find this better than Felt 1, but not Felt 2. The first Felt album was good, but only had ten tracks (including two skits). The second Felt album is one of my most played albums. It’s filled with great lyrics and production; making more than half of the songs standouts. I also believe some on Ant’s best work is on that album. Felt 3 is nothing compared to the first two; mainly because of Aesop Rock (which is not a bad thing). I imagine a lot of fans are not going to like this strictly because of the beats. However, you’ll see how gifted Murs and Slug truly are if you took the time to listen to how they adjust on certain beats. Their lyricism and creativity is nothing you should pass on either. Don’t be afraid to let it grow on you.
Everyone’s second question is who did better? Was it Slug or Murs? In my opinion, I’d give it to Murs. It’s not that Slug did poorly, but Murs is more of a hyped rapper and the energetic beats fit his flow better. Plus, he dropped some quotable lines that I’ll be explaining for weeks to come.
One thing I didn’t like about the album was the unnecessary interludes. I know it’s a big thing to have Aesop Rock as the producer, but don’t ruin the album by having the listener use the skip button when he or she didn’t have to.