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Dre Murray raises the bar and starts a great conversation
Posted July 16, 2013
By DwayneLacy_NRT, Staff Reviewer


There are times when an album that is highly anticipated can disappoint listeners. There are several reasons for this. It could be it just didn't live up to its hype or the songs just didn't mesh well as an album. Sometimes it is because people scan through it at first and do not stop to listen to what artist is trying to say and the fact that he or she may be using different production than they used on the previous album. 
 
Dre Murray has a highly anticipated album on Collision Records, and the hype more than matches the product. Gold Rush: Maybe One Day has an intriguing title and album cover (in which his head is covered in gold). Wit and Swoope are a big part of the production on the album with help from Wes Pendleton, Tragic Hero, Big Juice and Michael Guaglione.
 
I'm definitely encouraged by this album, although it is not an album that was meant to encourage on every song. It is encouraging due to the fact that it deals with issues that the "laymen" deal with. It is one that you can buy for that family member who feels that the church does not understand their drive (even if it is misguided)  for wealth, success. This is an album to give out, but you can also listen and think about your own struggles with the pull of what the world views as success. So many REAL issues are touched. 
 
One unique aspect is how the title of the album is broken into two tracks. After Propaganda brings an incredible and important poetic piece titled "Ramses The Great," it goes right into "Maybe One Day." "Maybe One Day" starts with haunting chants from what sounds like a boys choir, which sets the tone for the Swoope beat that changes with each verse and chorus. 
 
Dre takes the persona of one who strives for the "one day" of being on top of the world—which is basically an illusion created by greed. Christon Gray sings the chorus and delivers a mighty serving of crooning and clean falsetto vocals. On "Gold Rush" he gives an autobiographical look at life growing up in Houston as a young man motivated by a drive to make money and have "baller" status. How ironic is it to have a producer from Philadelphia, Wes Pendleton, lace the track about life in Houston. 
 
There are people who feel that they have to obtain the most money and be the envy of all who come in contact with. However they know that when they are dead, they are not in control of their fate. 
 
It is almost as if they want to be worshipped like a modern-day Pharaoh. Thus the reason for the title of the song of the same name. Tragic Hero sounds different singing the chorus with autotuned vocals, but he nails it. Not sure why it took Wit, Swoope, Big Juice, & Michael Guaglione to provide the production for "Fiend," but this song is a banger. The subtlety of Guaglione's guitar and the beat by the rest of the team really adds to the point that Dre is trying to get across. Dre explains that both the seller and the  buyer of drugs are both fiends who are dependent on one another. Verse 1 is from the dealer's point of view and the second verse is from the perspective of the buyer. 
 
Alcoholism has plagued the alcoholic and those closest to them. In music, there has been stories told of those whose mother or father fell to this addiction and the effect that it had on the family. Seldom do you hear it from the perspective of the alcoholic themselves. This is what Dre does on the pop ballad, "Letter In a Bottle" featuring the soft rock/alternative vocal styles of Michael Guaglione.

Dre gets poetic on "Red Light": "The sky is the reddest that I've ever seen / Your face be the brightest blue / Your pockets painted with a shade of green / I swear I'm missing every part of you." This track comes from the perspective of someone who is looking back reminiscing of the days of old and fighting the temptation to go back to that life before Christ. Christon Gray sings wonderfully over Wit and Tragic Hero's guitar-laced production. 
 
"Hollywood Heist" features the smooth singing of Sean C. Johnson, Gray's emceeing skills and Swoope's skillful work on the rhodes. Wit's jazz laden production topped with a sax sample shows his growth as a producer and the chemistry of crew at Collision records. With the pursuit of riches, success, etc., Dre shows the struggle he has as God is drawing him on "All Alone" and the struggle that a man has with himself on "Gray Tape." 
 
Closing Thoughts:
This is a heavy album. Dre keeps getting better and better lyrically, and this is an album that he can take back "home" to people struggling on the streets of Houston. 
 
One who lives in "suburbia" could also identify with the constant climb up that ladder to achieve the utopia of success that will make them the "talk of the town." It is for those who have felt that they were alone in their struggles or who are suffering as a result of a parent's struggle. Dre keeps it real and relevant. This was an album with masterful production and heavy lyrical content. 

Song to Download Now:
"Gold Rush" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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