Murs Carter’s resume reads as such: Underground West Coast rapper, Current TV (Al Gore’s channel) host, and now, Presidential hopeful.
(left: Mr. Carter, what’s your stance on national health care?)
Besides his unique rhyme flow and traffic-stopping hairdo, Murs is also known for his blunt honesty and hilarious sense of humor (which sometimes doesn’t go over well in the macho world of hip-hop). This year he will be parlaying his upcoming album Murs For President into an actual presidential campaign.
Besides talking about his bid for the White House, Murs also speaks freely about steroids in baseball, bravado in rap music, and saving up money to buy Transformers:
Jim Shearer: In this day in age, more so than ever, it seems like it is very tough for artists to get paid.
Murs: Yes, but it doesn’t look like it, because on TV they are dancing, they are singing, they have these diamonds and jewels and, woo-hoo, so much fun, but they are really not getting paid. It is all a farce, all that stuff is fake, literally. I know it for a fact, we have the same management.
Jim: How can we get you paid?
Murs: How can you get me paid? Come out to shows, download stuff on iTunes for $.99. I have a puppy to feed, you know? That is not your problem. I hear people say, “I have to feed my kids.” That is what rappers say, that is their excuse for everything.
Jim: I would like to see you not have to play free shows, because you are an artist who–
Murs: Well, when people start wanting to see me, then it won’t matter. Then [they] will pay to see me and I would [get] paid, I guess.
Jim: Are saying that people don’t want to see you?
Murs: They want to see me, they just don’t know it yet.
Jim: Well let’s make them know.
Murs: Hi, look at my hair. Pay me.
Jim: (laughs) But you’re running for President this year, right? That will help matters out.
Jim: So let’s take this step-by-step.
Murs: Step-by-step. First, is the campaign that started over the years through my grassroots constituents across the nation. And now we are going to have formal introductions with the album (Murs For President), and then I’m going to campaign all through the fall. Hopefully I can get a Grammy in February and that will be my inauguration. That is the goal.
Jim: What party are you running for?
Murs: The Party Party.
Jim: I like that. Here’s another question for you, if there was another candidate on the campaign trail that wanted you to play a function, would you do that? Or would that be a conflict of interest?
Murs: As long as they paid. President of the World is what I am running for, or President of Hip-Hop, you know? There are lots of Presidents, I’m definitely not running for the President of the United States. I’m looking past that.
Jim: I’m glad you cleared that up.
Murs: There is already one President of the United States in America and they made “Peaches.” Remember that song?
Jim: Of course.
Murs: So I couldn’t possibly be President of the United States. So I’m just running for President in general. Vaguely, universe, world, President of your house, President of my puppy, you know?
Jim: I’ll vote for you.
Murs: Thank you, I’ll be President of your house.
Jim: (laughs) It’s a little apartment, but anyway, let’s talk about hip-hop for a second. I appreciate how you bring a nice sense of humor to it, which I feel is lacking today. Why do you think that is?
Murs: I’m trying to find a politically correct term. I was going to say “retard” but that is not [nice].
Jim: You don’t have to be politically correct if you don’t want to.
Murs: I know, but I don’t like to say “retards,” mentally under developed black males in the media. I wish there was an acronym to shorten that. MUDBMITM’s? I don’t know? But anyway, they feel like they have to posture. They are still making money after all these years off of scaring white people, and white people fall for it. Oh, I’m scared 50 Cent, you’ve got a gun, you’ve been shot. Here is my money.I’m so fascinated, I’m intrigued by the death and destruction that is going on in your community. Oh you sell crack, that’s interesting. And you guys are just falling for it. You guys have got to stop. None of these guys are tough. They are on steroids and they do cocaine.
I’m not scared of them. They are not going to shoot you. It is one of their friends that is going to shoot them, and I’m friends with all their friends. When they come to town, literally, they call my friends to give them guns when they are in LA. I know this for a fact. So I’m not scared of anything, because if my friends don’t give you guns, then what are you going to shoot me with jerk?
I’m not really scared of them. I’ve been getting beat up my whole life. I’m a weird black kid. I grew up around other not-weird black kids. And because I was weird they thought they had to pick on me, jump me, fight me. So I’ve been beat up by these guys my whole life and I’m here to pull down the veil. They are not that tough, they are not that scary. I’ll fight any rapper alive, even if I lose. I don’t care.
I will fight you. If I get beat up that’s funny. If you get assaulted that is not funny, but if you lose a fight, like UFC–we all like to see a good fight–then we get up and be friends, move on with your life.
There is so many other things to talk about rather than guns and drugs and sex. But I do like to talk about sex.
Jim: Speaking of steroids, I want to address the rumor that Murs is not on HGH.
Murs: No I’m not using HGH. Roger Clemens is full of crap, man. If I see him I’m going to bust his ass. You know what I’m saying? Me and Nolan Ryan are going to come to Roger Clemens’ house and kick him in his behind. He acts like he doesn’t care about going to the Hall of Fame but he cares man.
(right: Murs has requested the aid of Nolan Ryan to help kick Roger Clemens’ ass.)
This is the conspiracy, pitchers started it all. Unless you look like Randy Johnson or Nolan Ryan or Dennis Eckersley, like, really skinny guys who just spit fire, they have been cheating for a long time. I’m a Dodgers fan. [Greg] Gagne has been using steroids forever, you know? Roger Clemens conveniently sat out the first half of the season when he was with the Astros so he didn’t have to get tested, and then all the heat fell on Barry Bonds. But batters didn’t start using steroids until they had to combat the pitchers that were using– unless you count [Jose] Conseco, but we all know that.
Jim: I think you should really run for President, you are saying some good stuff today. I’m being serious.
I want to take it to the emo kids right now. You are one of the few hip hoppers that will play Bamboozle-type festivals. When you go into these events are the kids ever afraid of you?
Murs: No, because I give them a warning. I come out and I say I’m going to say the “B” word, the “N” word, F-U-C-K, you know? Last Bamboozle I did, it was funny, I did a cover of “Boyz in the Hood” by Eazy-E and all the kids knew the words. It blew my f’ing mind.
I did it really so I could piss them off, but then they weren’t pissed. And I was like, “This is freaking dope!” Like, everybody knows Easy E. That’s what I figure now, especially with the internet, a kid will have [everything] on their iPod: Dre, 50 Cent, Against Me!, Rise Against, Vampire Weekend, Murs, Atmosphere, Sage Francis, 36 Mafia. And [the kids] are all confused and they are all f’ed up, and that’s great man. You know what I mean? That is going to promote the new unity in America and in the world. Watch.
Jim: And then, finally, we do a show called Lunchbox on IFC.com. Did you ever own a lunchbox?
Murs: Never did. My Mom would never [buy me one], because I lost shit when I was young. But I bought two Kill Bill lunchboxes for $50 a piece and I took it to the studio every day when I was recording my new album. I always wanted a metal lunch box and my girlfriend makes fun of me, because I was deprived in my childhood–rough, single Mother, blah, blah, blah. So now that I’m older I get all the shit. I buy hella Transformers because I never really had a lot of toys and shit.
(left: Brawn, one of the more inexpensive Transformers sold in the plastic bubble packs.)
Jim: I hear you. When I was a kid my family couldn’t afford the big Transformers, so I only got the ones they sold in bubble packs: Bumble Bee, Cliffhanger, and Brawn.
Murs: Yes, exactly, none of the big shit.
Jim: No Wheel Jack, no Optimist Prime.
Murs: I had a little brother so for Christmas we would get one big Transformer and we had to share it. I couldn’t get over the fact why I couldn’t have the Metroplex Transformer–Mom it’s only $64.99! I finally got it and I was so freaking enthused and it was still a piece of crap man. It wasn’t well made. It was American and it freaking fell apart. But, you know, that was the only big Transformer I ever got. So now I buy every toy imaginable.