Hip hop can be way too serious. Emcees will frame their entire career around social injustice or poverty, which is totally fine, but fuck: Is there anyway we can jump around and have some fun? That’s essentially what ¡Mursday! is here to do— bring the fun back to hip hop. With their self-titled album, Murs and ¡Mayday! join forces and get the party poppin’. We sat down with Bernz and Wrekonize of ¡Mayday! and Murs to find out how the project came together, the energetic dynamic between the trio, and how much alcohol was consumed during the video shoot for “Table Tops.”
Mass Appeal: How did this marriage come about?
Bernz: For our first album on Strange Music, Take Me To Your Leader, Murs was one of the only features that we really wanted. We linked up, and it was a great song called “Hardcore Bitches.” It was one of those things that when he [Murs] joined Strange, it just kind of worked. We already knew we worked well together, and through the Internet it all kind of sparked off. Some fan was like, “Hey, you guys should do more shit.” Then I tweeted him and he’s like, “Tell the A&R over there to get with it.” Then it just kind of started happening.
MA: So what was the goal for ¡Mursday!?
B: When we signed to Strange our music took a little bit of a darker turn, because of the environment and fan base that Strange has, whether consciously or subconsciously. Murs listened to our previous stuff and felt like there was a disconnect, and when he came he was like, “Look, I want to do something fun, lighthearted, and something that’s not so dark.” Not to say what Tech does is evil, or whatever the fuck. He still does happy music; it’s just on the dark spectrum of the rainbow. We wanted to make something that was brighter.
Also, during the production guys started bringing in horns and we wanted to musically amp it up. Make it bigger and brighter. That was kind of the main note for the album when we started, we wanted it to be fun and brighter. That’s kind of just how we are too. When we get together we just have fun, bro!
Wrekonize: Also, make sure that it was not just sounding like a ¡Mayday! album that Murs happened to be on.
B: Right! We didn’t just want to insert an MC. So before every session we would sit down and listen to Onyx, Beastie Boys, and we would have discussions on who were the best trios or the best duos. We’d listen to that shit, and that’s why in the ad libs you get that, “WHAAAT, YEEAAAHHH,” all those group ad libs and everything. We wanted everybody in the booth together. We wanted that kind of fun.
Murs: It was like back when I first started rapping with a crew. When you used to crash on each other’s couches, eat what you could, and hang out with the same group of chicks– just everything was a little more adult. But everything still had that ‘flophouse,’ old skater kid vibe. We’d get together and have a session, just like how dudes get together and skate all day. Then we’d drink, have fun, play some video games, and go home. Wake up and do the same shit.
MA: So this is a fun album?
B: ¡Mursday! is like a holiday!
MA: Did you guys get sick of each other? When I’m with my friends after a while it’s just like, get away from me.
M: They came from a background of having a group, and I come from a crew background, so we kind of know how to manage those situations and keep it professional. I’ve collabed with everybody, so I’ve definitely learned how to not take things personally. I’m able to say, “I don’t like this, but I’ll go do it your way anyway.”
MA: Did it feel organic?
B: Yeah, it felt natural.
M: If I would’ve went down there like, “Nah, I’m not drinking and I’m not going to eat any meat. Call me when it’s time for me to do my verse. Send the beats over. Okay I’m finished recording I’m going to go back,” it could’ve been real lame.
Bernz: I think in terms of the first pieces of music we released, and the first video we released, it felt like he was already in our group.
MA: The “Table Tops” music video looked like a lot of fun. What was the concept behind that?
B: The whole thing behind “Table Tops” is that we were the kids in high school that, while everybody was out chasing bitches or whatever, we were banging on table tops and rapping! It was just kind of harping back to banging on table tops and fucking having a good time.
W: The video was just and extension of that fun, kind of like sabotagey.
M: We shot at the liquor store first. The lady that owned the liquor store was like, “You got to take a shot,” and it’s like eight in the morning. So she starts pouring, and the Budweiser guy comes and I’m telling how much I love Budweiser Platinum…
MA: So you were fucked up.
M: We were all pretty drunk…
M: We were just having fun all throughout that video shoot. I think whenever we get together, except for today because our publicist kind of stopped it, we start drinking at noon.
MA: You guy are about that turn up, huh?
W: We drink, bro.
M: So I try to get on their level.
B: We drink to make hits.
M: I’ve done the underground thing. I never tried to make underground music, but I never consciously tried to make music that appeals to the masses. They’re really good at that. When we first sat down with each other it was like, “Man, I want to make some classic hip hop shit!” I’m thinking I didn’t sign to Strange or come to fuck with you guys to make a fucking underground classic! I’m trying to make the mainstream dope again. When I was younger, Public Enemy was mainstream as fuck, but they were dope. It’s like the underground kind of gave up on competing. I think there’s an art to it– no lie. What a lot of people on the radio do there’s an art to it.
MA: I absolutely agree. French Montana, I think he’s mastered that art.
M: Yeah! You know, not every idiot is going to be able to do it; not every genius is going to be able to do it, but trying to do something genuinely artistic, brilliant, and making it mainstream, that’s a challenge.
MA: What’s ¡Mayday!’s relationship with underground music?
B: I never differentiated with that kind of shit. If it was cool, it was cool. I grew up with my mama playing the best kind of music. I guess I’ll always have an ear for the best parts of mainstream music and pop music. I like pop music, I’m not afraid to say it. I also like hip hop. It’s one of those things where the two meet wherever they can. Even a Macklemore, I appreciate what he did on that album, for the songwriting aspects of it, because I love songwriting.
W: The Beatles, they never thought about that shit. They just made amazing timeless music. I just want to be an amazing songwriter. I want us to go down as one of the greatest producers, songwriters, and rappers ever.
B: I’m Venezuelan, first generation, and I got to Miami when I was 12. [Wreckonize] is English. Being from Miami is so far away geographically from everybody, and on top of that being an immigrant, I didn’t grow up with somebody telling me what’s underground. Dog, I just came from Mexico where I was wearing Topsiders. I was a geek! Messing around wearing tight pants and sweater vests or whatever the fuck.
W: Now you’d be cool as fuck though!
B: [Laughs] Yeah. It was such a culture shock, and the first thing that interested me was hip hop. That was the one thing that I wanted to fit in so hardcore.
W: I was born in London, but I came to Miami when I was 5. So I kind of grew up in American culture. The first hip hop I was listening to was when my parents bumped Heavy D and shit like that. Back then I didn’t realize what it was. By the time I got into hip hop it was Snoop, Biggie, and all that. Later on I went into the golden era– De La Soul, Tribe, shit like that. In my teens, I was hardcore into “real hip hop” and I had that phase hard as fuck when I started rapping. It was all about the real shit, “Fuck this and Fuck that” or whatever.
Then I just came to a point where I started running into these artists, as a 19/20-year-old, realizing that it’s not fun to talk shit about people that you don’t even know. Then you get around them and they’re like-minded, or they’re just trying to create art. Who the fuck am I to judge them, you know? I had to go through that whole eureka to get to the place where I could just like all different kinds of genres. I can like something that’s deep and conscious, but then I can come over here and bump the shit out of this 2 Chainz song. What the fuck is wrong with that?
B: Not only that, but they can both inform your art. Like, they both influence what it is you’re doing.
W: Then the ¡Mayday! process, when we started to make music together, I was really sitting in that place and enjoying not putting labels and boundaries on stuff.
MA: What’s been the feedback for the ¡Mursday! shows?
B: We did it at SXSW and it was super tight man. We had people singing along to Murs’ shit.
M: I think we all know how to perform. I don’t care if I perform for Willie Nelson fans or whatever, I can drive home my music. I can sell it. I will find the common ground and sell it. When you give someone the music and hooks ¡Mayday! gave me, I can teach you the song before we’re done performing. And it’s so catchy, and the performance is so convincing, that you’re going to be singing it.
MA: What do you want fans to get from this album?
B: I just want to tour the world and party with this album. I want to take ¡Mursday! to every corner of the world, because I feel like the world would be a better place if they have a party to this album. That’s how I really, honestly feel.
¡Mursday! is out now! Do your ears a favor and bless them with this joint.