Murs - "GBKW (God Bless Kanye West)" (Singles Going Steady)

by PopMatters Staff

13 March 2017

The tale Murs tells is a poignant one, painting a picture of living life in constant danger.

Adriane Pontecorvo: The tale Murs tells is a poignant one, painting a picture of living life in constant danger. Each part of the story is true for someone; Murs makes that clear. There are moments of hope, of seeking refuge in music that comes from artists who understand growing up among violence and poverty, but in the end, the message is clear: for countless people, particularly black Americans, the social system has failed, leading to far too many young lives lost. From a lyrical standpoint, “GBKW” hits hard, and from a production standpoint, Murs has put together an impeccable piece of music. These are uncomfortable images, and Murs confronts his listeners with each one, letting us know that avoiding the problem sure as hell isn’t going to fix it. [9/10]

Andrew Paschal: With “GBKW (God Bless Kanye West)”, Murs delivers a poignant and relevant message, speaking to solidarity and the saving power of music while lifting up artists of color. His delivery is a bit heavy-handed and transparent, though, lacking some subtlety in its storytelling. Murs spells out the moral before you can even look for it, which makes the track affecting but also a bit unsatisfying. On the one hand, this interpretive availability might be what Murs was looking for, as it’s the most straightforward way to get his point across. Still, a little bit of narrative restraint might have made that point resonate even more powerfully. [6/10]

Paul Carr: Kanye West has certainly had his detractors of late, but it’s easy to forget that he is a successful African American who has achieved global success despite the fact he has had to face the same prejudices and struggles encountered by many black Americans. For Murs, Kanye’s success is something to be celebrated, and he does so by comparing the plight of a black youth trying to survive the daily struggles and violence of the streets with Kanye’s rise to fame. It acts as a call for solidarity and a rallying cry for everyone to recognize the fight many black Americans have to succeed in these times. A timely reminder with a song that demonstrates Mur’s ability to craft memorable rap songs that contain powerfully profound social commentary. [9/10]

Scott Zuppardo: The mighty MURS has been holding down the mic throne for close to three decades. The production beat is superficial but the story and lyrical wordplay grandiose, as per usual. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.75

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