Music News

Indie hip-hop icon Murs on touring the country while juggling a festival

An icon of independent hip-hop for over a decade, Murs (aka Nick Carter) returns to the Mile High City for a show this weekend at the Fox with fellow West Coast natives Fashawn and Black Cloud Music. The fearless leader of the Road to Paid Dues Tour, Murs is traveling coast to coast to spread the word about the latest installment of his annual festival, set to take place at the end of this month in San Bernardino, California. We spoke to Murs about the challenges of organizing a music festival and tour while promoting four (!) different projects.

Westword: What inspired you to turn your tour into a city-to-city promotion for your festival?

Murs: I usually go on tour about this time anyway, and my goal is to make Paid Dues a destination festival, similar to Coachella. I thought, what better way to raise awareness about the tour than to promote state to state? Every night, if you come to the booth with proof of plane tickets to California, we give free tickets to the show. I thought, what better way to get people to come than, if you can prove to me you have [travel plans], I'll give you a ticket. It doesn't hurt us to give you a ticket and get incentive to get there.

You're currently promoting an album with Fashawn, an album with 9th Wonder, an album/graphic novel with DJ Foundation, and a forthcoming project with White Mandingos. With so many projects coming out so close together, do you work on them concurrently, or are they worked on one at a time until finished?

It's interesting — everything was done at the same time except for the 9th Wonder record. White Mandingos I've been working on for three to four years now, the [DJ Foundation project] Merch Girl, I've been working on for three to four years, and Fashawn I'd worked on for about a year. But the Murs and 9th Wonder records are done in one week.

With all of these projects, as well as the tour and the festival, how do you stay so organized?

Ha ha ha, as I look about my disheveled hotel room.... I don't know, it's just the way my brain works. It definitely doesn't appear organized to me. I'm just getting it done and just happy to have something to do every day. I think starting from nothing and being broke just inspires me every day to not want to go back there. There's never a time, even sleeping. I'm always thinking what has to be done.

What is the White Mandingos project?

It's a band with Darryl Jenifer of Bad Brains and Sacha Jenkins of Ego Trip and, originally, R.A. the Rugged Man. It kind of fell apart, and I was called and [asked] to be a part of it, and I was like, "Sure, cool." I remember coming up with a punk-rock opera, the story of a kid similar to [our] stories about a black kid who grew up into rock and hip-hop and being an outcast — thus the name White Mandingo. The album's called The Ghetto Is Tryna Kill Me, and it comes out May 28.

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Chaz Kangas