New York City, ny – Not many artists habitually keep their authenticity intact to the degree that Brooklyn rapper Uncle Murda does. Having toured Australia and New Zealand this past November with 50 Cent and Janet Jackson, and recently dropped his first project in two years, Don’t Come Outside Volume 2, he’s continuing to thrive.
“I’m detailing the streets, man,” he tells hitmusic about the release. “It’s what’s happening, it’s what’s been happening … it’s about how I grew up and things of that nature. My reasons for certain things I’ve done. You got to just really sit back, soak it in and you’ll get the bigger picture.”
A noticeable change from Don’t Come Outside Volume 1 is that he’s back to his former monicker, having (at the time) begun to use his government name, Lenny Grant. In a conversation with hitmusic in 2017, he broke down his reasoning for the change — notably pointing to no-brainer business obstacles that exist with a name like Uncle Murda. But, as he now explains, the change wasn’t something his fans were willing to adopt.
“You know, I was trying to do something else but the people will not stop calling me Uncle Murda — I can’t get away from it no matter what,” he says with a laugh. “It’s like, damn. I even tried to use my real name.
“I’ve been trying to get away from the fucking Uncle Murda shit for the longest now, but I fucking can’t so I’m just going to deal with it,” he adds in a tone that suggests he’s not overly upset.
Part of the reluctance to accept a new name may stem from the way in which he admirably keeps the same energy. One particular song on his new LP, the Great John-produced “What I Mean Is,” seems to momentarily turn the tables and question whether the music he can’t walk away from is possibly inspiring younger listeners to embrace a lifestyle they should probably avoid at all costs.
“Sometime when you speak about life experiences, you have people that can relate to that,” he explains noting that his truths and reactions are somewhat universal for many who grew up in his environment. “I feel like sometimes music motivates. It did for me growing up … I was motivated because of the reality I was living at the time and shit I was going through.
“I was really out there hustling and shit like that,” he adds. “I was really beefing with motherfuckers and had people shooting at me. I got shot and was [allegedly] on the run for shooting somebody — and multiple other things of that nature. So when I listened to the music, it gave me motivation.”
It’s not something artists do intentionally, he says, though he admits that it in the same way it motivated him — somebody who was in that life — it could also motivate someone who may otherwise have different reactions to certain situations.
“Maybe rap music is responsible for a lot of negative shit that’s happened, but we can’t help that, you know,” he says. “We’re just sharing experiences we dealt with … that’s a way for us to make it out. So we speak about the shit. Do I think we attract negativity? Yes.”
With an obvious bigger picture understanding of a role his influence can potentially play in motivating listeners, the question becomes whether or not we’ll get a truly reflective Uncle Murda — à la 4:44. It’s not something he immediately ruled out, but he admits he’s not quite ready to turn his back on the formula that’s defined his career.
“As an artist, you’ve got to try different things,” he says. “Maybe as my career goes on, I might come at it from a different angle, but right now I still relate to a particular kind of lifestyle. I’m still aggressive with it. But who knows.”
Even more prominent than the response to his latest project has been the response to his annual rap-up. Touching on everything that went down — in his normally unrestrained fashion — he most notably caught the ire of singer K. Michelle, who was less than ecstatic about the opening bars of the song.
“I don’t got no beef with her, man. That’s Uncle Murda, man,” he says, playfully separating Lenny Grant from his rap alter-ego. “He get in that ramp up mode and just be fucking bugging — and then I gotta deal with this shit.”
As he explains, “Uncle Murda’s” issue with K. Michelle stemmed from a tweet in which she supported Tekashi 69’s release from prison following absurdly public testimony that helped convict former Trey Nine Blood associates — and implicated numerous others in potential criminal activity (including Cardi B and Jim Jones).
Idc idc im happy 69 is getting out. That man is so entertaining& I like his music.Shit he didnt snitch on me, and if somebody tried to kill me i’m snitching 2,and im snitching on you cheating niggas. Lol.Half these rappers y’all like ARE NOT ABOUT THAT LIFE. Big FACTS
— K. Michelle (@kmichelle) December 16, 2019
Despite being very direct about his take on Tekashi, Murda says that he strongly believes that he’ll still have a career when he gets home.
“I think you might have some kids that’s still going to love him and embrace him, just as you’re going to have certain people that respect the streets and respect the codes,” he says, pointing out that many younger fans who don’t adhere to street codes may not be as stringent when it comes to real world authenticity versus entertainment.
“He gone still have a career, you know, making all that rat the rat loving music,” he says with a laugh. “If you’re a rat lover, you’re going to be rocking.”
For Murda, 2020 is just getting started and is looking to hold a lot of exciting things, and not just on a music tip.
“I’m working on some movie things,” he reveals. He made his big screen debut in the film Reprisal — starring Bruce Willis — back in 2018. He also appeared in a 2019 series titled Street Connected, which also starred Lady Of Rage.
“I’ve got a couple of TV series that I’m actually working on. Some things that we bought that we’re going to try to put into production shortly,” he explains. “I’m also working on a Aaron Hernandez soundtrack — one of my partners got the rights to his story. Just trying to stay busy and keep working.”
And fans can rest assured they won’t have to wait as long for a new project, as he says he plans to drop at least two more this year.
“Sometimes I feel like I be cheating myself and the people that fuck with me cause last time I put a project car was 2017 … I feel like I gotta be more consistent,” he says.
2020 marks fifteen years since the now 40-year-old MC dropped his debut mixtape Murder Capitol, and it appears that he’s not letting up anytime soon. “I been talking to 50 about that … I need to live a little longer, maybe 15 – 20 minutes before going out,” he says with a loud laugh.
Stream Uncle Murda’s Don’t Come Outside Volume 2 featuring Dave East, Tory Lanez, Benny The Butcher, Jadakiss, Styles P and more below, Empire/G-Unit.