From the Sweatshop Union press kit: “April 12th, 2011 marked the release of the group’s most ambitious record to date, an experimental concept album best described as a runaway mushroom trip through the inner and outer cosmos. They titled the record simply: Bill Murray. Along with recent releases from Sweatshop Unions’ Dirty Circus and Pigeon Hole, the group aims to become the most prolific collective in hip hop.”

Well, they’ve got quite a few people to leapfrog over on their way to achieving that goal – the Hieroglyphics crew, the Project Blowed fam, Slug (and by extension Atmosphere), the Bone Thugs collective, KRS-One, Jay-Z, should I go on? Maybe they just felt burned that I wrote about how many years they went between releases. Nah, it’s not about me. It’s far better to set your sights high even if you can’t reach them than to shoot for the lowest common denominator. Sweatshop Union have consistently been about raising the bar in hip-hop. Even if they sometimes approach the fine line between artistic and elitist, it’s a devilish dance they’re comfortable with, and one they don’t avoid on “The Bill Murray EP” either. They have one request here – “Bring Back the Music”:

“What happened to the music videos?
All I see is Jersey Shore and these stupid Diddy shows
Really though, get ’em on a different channel
You can soak up all the so-called “reality” you can handle
Cause I don’t give a shit about the crib Nelly lives in
Or what’s in his fridge in his kitchen
It make me wanna turn off my television, it’s all irrelevant
bullshit man I’m tellin you, can’t stand the smell of it
I mean really, what kind of world is this?
They give air time to Girlicious
Instead of givin it to legitimate, artistic, work hard
and put their whole hearts in this shit
I’m wishin they could see that, and bring the old MTV back
With no videos it’s like an empty weed sack
It’s useless – so bring back the music
If y’all refuse to do it we can always YouTube shit
But stilll…”

If that wasn’t a direct enough attempt to get the point across, you only need wait for the chorus to end for D-Sisive to take things up another notch. But still, it’s not entirely clear even with the explanation from their press kit – why do Sweatshop Union want to keep it “Bill Murray” on their new EP? Maybe they all like golf a whole hell of a lot. No, that’s not it. Maybe they’re out to not just be the most prolific group in rap but the funniest too. Nah, these guys are serious like cancer. Perhaps these lines on the title track explain:

“That’s Bill Murray, you’re Chevy Chase’n a dream
Makin a scene, runnin ’round wastin your steam
No matter how hard you try you’ll never wake up and be
half the man me and Bill is, was then and still is”

In the murky depths of “The Life Aquatic” hip-hop, Steve Zissou is their muse. They aspire to be originals, going their own path, sometimes commercially successful and sometimes just satisfying their own personal goals. Not such a bad metaphor for a hip-hop group after all. Of course they also have a song named “John Lennon” on this release, but since they didn’t call it “The John Lennon EP” we have to stick with their choice of theme. Not that it makes “John Lennon” any less dope though – it’s not every day you hear a hip-hop song with bars spit to the sweet sounds of a Carribean steelpan. Perhaps they were spending time in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago when acquiring the “Sunburn” of track #3. Either way at only 23 minutes long from the “Intro” to “Staring at the Walls” this EP goes by in a heartbeat but is so enjoyable that you immediately want to hit repeat. Perhaps they can achieve that most prolific status by releasing a string of dope EP’s like these – I hope they try.

Sweatshop Union :: The Bill Murray EP
8Overall Score