C-Murder: Screamin' 4 Vengeance

The citizens and rap fans of New Orleans deserve a better storyteller than rapper C-Murder. And they should be the ones screamin’ for vengeance.


Screamin' 4 Vengeance

Label: Asylum
First date: 2008-07-01
US Release Date: 2008-07-01
UK Release Date: Available as import

New Orleans rapper/producer Corey Miller (aka C-Murder) knows the hard reality of living in the Crescent City’s Calliope projects. I just wish he would do a better job of telling how and why his heart bleeds for his city on his third album, Screamin’ 4 Vengeance. Like fellow southern rap kingpin T.I., the release of Miller’s album also runs parallel to an impending prison sentence that began this fall. In 2003, Miller was charged with second-degree murder for a shooting that occurred at New Orleans nightclub and has been on house arrest ever since.

Knowing that Miller also became an author last year, with the release of the urban novel Death Around the Corner, I gave Miller the benefit of the doubt this time around, expecting him to mature lyrically. I listened hard and close to Screamin' 4 Vengeance hoping to find verses that lament or express his feelings about the details surrounding his court case, or the tragic state of recovery in New Orleans. But I came up short on evidence that Miller has evolved, which left me feeling disappointed.

On intro track “Ganstafied Lyrics”, Miller expresses his disdain for fake rappers and wrestles with conflicting beliefs about the death of close friends. The verses make you think that Miller has his sights set on higher ground, but unfortunately the rest of the album quickly regresses into gangsta clichés and street thug pandering. Towards the end, among a mêlée of chopped and screwed, vinyl scratches, and clicking electro snares and whistles, Miller growls one of the only straightforward expressions towards his possible future sentence (or current house arrest) on “Beastmode”.

Not even the blazing speed rapping of Bone Thug ‘N Harmony rapper Krayzie Bone on “Posted on Tha Block Remix” can make up for the disjointed and scattered production of Vengeance. The ice cold couplets of “Freeze (Ice Man)” preach the precarious ways of dealing meth, but fail to put my doubts on ice. Dirty South anthem “Down South” rides the slow rotation of a chopped and screwed chorus hook, but really, what does “From the street to the Pen we came here to win / We came here to be paid in big ways” really mean? A pending murder charge for shooting and killing someone at a club doesn’t stop Miller from recording the club banger track “Murdaman Dance”. And you would think that if you’re going to record a track like this, you would at least make it sound good should it be used as evidence against you.

That said, as a producer, Miller sticks to his sonic guns, recycling the chopped and screwed production club anthems that helped bring him to platinum and gold record success with Life or Death (1998) and Bossalinie (1999). As a rapper, Miller tries to channel the swagger of Tupac and Ja Rule’s drawl, but he misses the opportunity to rap poetically about what he sees around him and what may lie ahead -- both of which Tupac embraced and did so eloquently without compromising the rawness.

Maybe this album is one of those that will slowly reveal its hidden storylines as Miller’s case unfolds in the coming weeks. And hopefully his career as an author and a rapper will grow into more than just a side story to his murder rap. I just hope that he doesn’t mix up his conviction with his real rapping ability, because I know there are stories to tell about the mean and troubled streets of New Orleans, but for whatever reason he doesn’t want to tell them.


This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

Keep reading... Show less

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

Blending a dazzling array of musical influences and directions for more than two decades now, Thievery Corporation have come to represent one of the 21st century's boldest bands in both genre-blending style and lyrical impact.

The Halloween season is in full effect on this crisp Sunday evening in San Francisco that precedes All Hallows Eve by two days. With the traditional holiday falling on a Tuesday, music fans are out for as much costumed fun as they can get as evidenced by the costumed revelers here at the Masonic in the Nob Hill area. Thievery Corporation is in town, and the Bay Area "thieves" as the band's fans are known are ready to let it all hang out with one of the few bands in the music industry that isn't shy on telling listeners the truth about what's going on in the world.

Keep reading... Show less

Despite the uninspired packaging in this complete series set, Friday Night Lights remains an outstanding TV show; one of the best in the current golden age of television.

There are few series that have earned such universal acclaim as Friday Night Lights (2006-2011). This show unreservedly deserves the praise -- and the well-earned Emmy. Ostensibly about a high school football team in Dillon, Texas—headed by a brand new coach—the series is more about community than sports. Though there's certainly plenty of football-related storylines, the heart of the show is the Taylor family, their personal relationships, and the relationships of those around them.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.