"A lot of the dudes I grew up on were bitter at us," he says. "They were trying to ride it for dear life because they didn't want to end up like Cold Crush. Everyone was treating it like they didn't know when this hustle was going to run out, because that's what it is in the black community; everyone gets rich and then it's played out.

"Instead of being bitter, I said, 'No one helped me, so I'm going to make sure I help as many people as I can,'" he says. "That kind of turned into Paid Dues. It wasn't about creating someplace for me to headline every year. It was putting the focus on someone else."

Yet for all his apparent energy and enthusiasm, Murs is only human. After 15 years of hustling, he was feeling a little crispy a couple of years ago. Borderline burnt out. Taking his new wife out on tour helped him see things with new eyes, and his recent collaboration with Fashawn has proved even more of a wake-up call.

Rapper Murs is a workaholic.
Darryl Richardson
Rapper Murs is a workaholic.

"Seeing the rap industry through Fash's eyes is really inspiring to me," he says. "He's reigniting a passion, because he still has that passion for it I probably had when I was his age. Touring with him is fun because he sees it for what it is — not how much you get paid, but that we get to rap for people. We come from the same place. We get to rap for people, and before this, our futures weren't as promising, but we kept the long-term perspective."

He believes that with hip-hop firmly established, there's room for broader vision. Everybody doesn't have to clock the same corner.

"So many legendary MCs will teach you everything about street life, selling cocaine, and not being a snitch, but they don't tell you how insane it is to live with a fucking 2-month-old," Murs says. "Let the younger kids talk about what you used to talk about. They probably can't speak to what you can about being a father or a mogul or any of that. I'd like to hear more of that from my generation."

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