Keith Murray

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Keith Murray
Murray in 2023
Murray in 2023
Background information
Birth nameKeith Omar Murray Jr.
Born1974 or 1975 (age 49–50)[1]
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
OriginLong Island, New York, U.S.
GenresHip hop
Years active1993–present[2]
Member ofDef Squad

Keith Omar Murray[3] is an American rapper from New York. He is best known for being a member of the hip hop group Def Squad, which includes fellow rappers Redman and fellow Long Island native Erick Sermon. The group released their debut album, El Niño in 1998.

In 1994, Murray released his debut single "The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World" for Jive Records, which was quickly followed up by his debut album of the same name, released to critical and commercial success. His delivery has been described as "spaced out, complex, [and] multi-syllablistic".


1990–1995: Early years[edit]

Murray got his start in the music industry under the name MC Do Damage, but later decided to just go by his birth name.

In 1994, he was introduced to Erick Sermon of EPMD by his friend K-Solo.[4] Sermon included Murray on his album No Pressure on the single "Hostile", with critics praising Murray's lyrical ability. His appearance on Hostile led to Murray being signed to Jive Records, and work began on his first album. Murray's debut single, The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World was released in 1994 and was a hit.[5] The song was produced by Erick Sermon (who also provided background vocals) and peaked at number 50 on the Billboard 200 and number 3 on the Hot Rap Singles chart. Murray's debut album The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World, was named after the single and released in 1994 to widespread critical acclaim and commercial success,[5] being certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in August 1995.[6] The album was also given "4 mics" by The Source.

Murray continued to enjoy a high media-profile by appearing on a Coca-Cola advertisement and as a featured guest on Mary J Blige's "Be Happy", Total's "Can't You See", R Kelly's "Home Alone" and both versions of LL Cool J's "I Shot Ya".[5] However, his appearances of both versions of "I Shot Ya" led to brief friction with rapper Tupac Shakur, who believed that the song was a diss towards him being shot and robbed at Quad Recording Studios, regarding the timing, title, and lyrical content.[7] Sometime in the following year, Tupac Shakur approached Keith Murray at the California House Of Blues, wanting to know if the record was a diss to him. Upon questioning, Murray made it clear that the record was not about Shakur, peacefully resolving the situation. Murray has continued to publicly address this in several interviews over the following years.[8][9]

1996–1998: Def Squad[edit]

Murray's second album Enigma was released on November 26, 1996,[10] on Jive, once again to critical acclaim.[5] The album peaked at number 39 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and reached number 6 on the R&B Albums chart.[11] Murray also continued to work with other artists, appearing on tracks by Busta Rhymes, UGK, Redman and Jamal.

In 1998, Murray and The Def Squad released their debut album, El Niño, which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200 and was certified Gold by the RIAA.

Murray's third solo album It's a Beautiful Thing was released in 1998 while Murray was incarcerated for assault.[12]

2001–present: He's Keith Murray and release from Def Jam[edit]

After Murray was released from prison, he signed with Def Jam who released He's Keith Murray in 2003, once again to critical and commercial success. The album contained the single "Yeah Yeah U Know It.", and featured guest appearances from Busta Rhymes, Redman and Jamie Foxx, among others.[13] The same year, Murray was featured as a playable character in the video game Def Jam Vendetta. Despite the success and acclaim of his first album on Def Jam after this, Murray was dropped from the label just one day after its release after being accused of choking two label employees, although he said the confrontation was limited to words. After being released, Murray announced plans to continue recording music independently.[14]

He released his fifth solo album Rap-Murr-Phobia on July 31, 2007. It debuted at number 52 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.[15] The lead single was "Nobody Do It Better" featuring Tyrese and Junior.

Legal issues[edit]

In May 25, 1995, Murray was arrested after being accused of hitting a man with a barstool in a fight and released on bail. After being sentenced to three years in 1998, Murray, who maintains his innocence, fled from authorities until October 1998, when he turned himself in. Murray filed a lawsuit for wrongful conviction, and later dropped the suit in exchange for his sentence being reduced by three months. Murray served the latter portion of his sentence in the Maple Street Halfway House facility before being released on May 14, 2001.[13]


Studio albums[edit]

Collaboration albums[edit]

  • El Niño with Def Squad (1998)
  • Canibus & Keith Murray are The Undergods - In Gods We Trust,Crush Microphones to Dust (2011)


  1. ^ Elibert, Mark (January 10, 2023). "Keith Murray Recalls Nas 'Wrestling' Jewelry Thieves During Robbery Attempt". HipHopDX. Retrieved April 16, 2024.
  2. ^ Keith Murphy (June 4, 2012). "Full Clip: Erick Sermon Runs Down His Catalogue Ft. EPMD, Rakim & More". Vibe. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  3. ^ "ACE Repertory: MURRAY KEITH OMAR". ASCAP. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  4. ^ Hernandez, Will (May 29, 2014). "Keith Murray". Who?Mag. Through K Solo. I heard Erick lived in the town over to Central Islip, Long Island. He moved to my town and we ran into him and K Solo when we used to be hustling at selling crack. He came up there and I told him to take to Erick Sermon because I didn't know him them. He took me and it's been popping ever since.
  5. ^ a b c d Larkin, Colin, ed. (1998). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Dance Music (First ed.). New York City: Virgin Books. pp. 230–1. ISBN 0-7535-0252-6.
  6. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum - November 15, 2006 : Search Results - Keith Murray". RIAA. Retrieved November 15, 2006.
  7. ^ "Tupac Talks 'Hit Em Up' Vs. 'Who Shot Ya?' (Pg. 2)". September 13, 2010. That's hip hop. N---- been talking s--- all while I was in jail. "Who Shot Ya?" L.L. got a song "I Shot Ya." Even if it ain't about me, n----, you should be like, I'm not putting it out cause he might think it's about him.
  8. ^ Harling, Danielle (August 7, 2014). "Keith Murray Recalls Tupac Approaching Him Over "I Shot Ya"". Rest in peace to Tupac. I love and respect Tupac to death. I'm not talking bad about Tupac or nothing like that. It's just an incident. So, he came up. Walked up and he was like 'Nah, I just wanted to know because we had—I got shot five times. You know what I'm saying? In New York, so I thought niggas was talking about me'…I can understand why he did that…We was squaring off. Everybody had knives on 'em. But we diffused it and it was peace after that.
  9. ^ "Keith Murray Recalls Fights With Prodigy & Dame Dash + Being Confronted By 2Pac". All HipHop. August 8, 2014.
  10. ^ "The Wherehouse: New Stuff!". LA Weekly. November 21, 1996. p. 111. Retrieved December 20, 2023 – via
  11. ^ "Enigma, Charts & Awards, Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  12. ^ Muhammad, Cedric (April 4, 2003). "Hip-Hop Fridays: Exclusive Q & A With Keith Murray". BlackElectorate.
  13. ^ a b Reid, Shaheem (May 15, 2001). "Keith Murray Released From Halfway House". MTV News.
  14. ^ Reid, Shaheem (July 18, 2003). "Keith Murray Declares His Independence After Being Dropped By Def Jam". MTV News.
  15. ^ "". Billboard. August 8, 2007. Retrieved June 25, 2021.

External links[edit]