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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
8/20/2003 6:52:56 PM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Murphy Lee and Nelly.

Platinum plaques for folks like Missy Elliott and Nas line the walls of the Hit Factory, the legendary New York recording studio. And that might intimidate any new artist. But for Murphy Lee, the pressure’s more personal. There’s his dirty, Nelly, lounging over a game of dominoes in a side room. Meanwhile, fellow St. Lunatic City Spud checks in by phone from jail, anxious to see how Murph’s debut album, tentatively titled Murphy’s Law, is coming along.



Despite the fast company, Murphy Lee (born Tohri Harper), 19, remains unfazed and unspoiled. “I’ll hear my song on the radio,” he says, “and I’ll think, My voice ain’t supposed to be on that song. It’s amazing like a *****!” But for all his aw-shucks grins and giggling female fans—he’s also known as “the Schoolboy”—Murph has paid some dues. His brother Kyjuan, 22, brought him into Nelly’s crew as a preteen, and Murph has made front-and-center Lunatics appearances since 1996’s “Gimme What Ya Got,” a St. Louis anthem. He established his solo potential last year with cameos on remixes like State Property’s “Roc the Mic.” “Ever since Country Grammar, there’s been a buzz for Murph,” Nelly says. “I could never teach him how to be an artist, but I can make sure he takes advantage of all his options.”

That he has done. His upcoming CD shows Murph at his sing-song best, dropping honey in the ladies’ ears over beats by Jazze Pha, Mannie Fresh, and Jermaine Dupri. Like Nelly, Murph considers himself a St. Lunatic first and will always defend their music. “People be like, ‘Is this real hip hop?’” he says. “Of course! There’s some good art in there.” As if to prove the point, he retreats to the studio and loads up a mesmerizing number from his album, produced by City Spud, who constructed the song's pounding beat during a collect call from prison. "It's always been a team effort," Murph says, "I got my melodies from Nelly, my writing skills from Ali, and my punch lines from Kyjuan." The confidence? Well that came naturally.

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