There’s 10 years, a couple hundred miles and not much else that separates L.A. underground vet Murs and Fresno phenom Fashawn. Both MCs specialize in a West Coast indie-rap classicism that prizes personality first and scene-setting lyricism a close second. And that makes This Generation one of those super-duo team-ups that winds up feeling like less of a crossover blockbuster and more like an inevitable pairing of like-minded compatriots. It’s strongest when they’re swapping verses directly – the candid point-of-pride sessions “Yellow Tape” and “Slash Gordon” make their back-and-forth mid-line mic trades sound like they’re finishing each others’ thoughts. But it also benefits from getting two distinct angles on the same scenarios – drawing lines back to crack-era Reagan youth from the teenagers of the Bush years on the title cut, or making the titular vehicle of “64 Impala” an aspiration for Fashawn’s third-person restless, doomed criminal and a prize possession of Murs’s first-person success story. Back it all up with a slow-rolling live band funk engineered by Beatnick & K-Salaam, and you’ve got an album that sounds like underground Cali rap destiny falling into place.
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