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KEITH MURRAY (Buy CDs by this artist)
The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World (Jive) 1994
Enigma (Jive) 1996
It's a Beautiful Thing (Jive) 1998
Best of Keith Murray (Jive) 1999

Like Craig Mack, rapper Keith Murray is a Long Islander who got a helping hand from EPMD: Erick Sermon co-wrote, produced and guests on his debut album. An articulate, upbeat MC genially surrounded by scratchy, slow-rolling beats, Murray keeps his clever rhymes moving, dropping culture references and his "sychosymatic" lingo. A benign rapper in the old-school tradition, Murray keeps cursing, sexuality and violence at bay, instead filling The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World with praise of weed and juice ("Herb Is Pumpin'," "Get Lifted," the Redman-produced sci-fi pot fantasy of "Escapism"). At his warmest and fuzziest, Murray fills the title track (presented in two mixes) with gentle bragging. All of the album's unpleasantry is relegated to "Bom Bom Zee," with guest vulgarity from Hurricane Gee. But drop-ins don't all bring heavy manners: with Sermon and Redman (as well as a sample of "The Show") in the mix, the good-natured "How's That" boosts the energy level in a virtuoso free-for-all of shoutouts and shutouts.

[Ira Robbins]