…we often look to other cities with respect
to their scenes, all the while not realizing that
their eyes are often focused on us.

My city has long had a great relationship with music — indie, mainstream or otherwise. We create it, support it, enjoy it to the fullest and still we often look to other cities with respect to their scenes, all the while not realizing that their eyes are often focused on us. Perhaps that’s simply the nature of being in, or from, any one place for any substantial span of time. I’ve heard it said that “everyone is local, somewhere.” Yes. And that is where a bit of magic often happens; when someone who has made a name for themselves can still understand to respect the “local” — everywhere they go.

A perfect example is veteran hip-hop artist, Murs. Hailing from the entertainment capital of Los Angeles, Murs is an artist like many you’ve heard of – he creates and performs rap music. But he is one of the few left who understands that hip-hop is more than music and popular radio plays, it is a culture. Therein lies the difference when an artist plays music like any other, but shares culture. Murs has made a name for himself over a long career of doing it his way; often times fully independent, while other times making alliances with major labels, tours and festivals to bring more of the subculture to larger audiences. But in all, he’s never lost credibility with his core audience. How? Respect for the local, everywhere.

Respect the local, everywhere.

His shows are most often set at venues that supported him before being widely known. His opening acts are many times local, up-and-coming artists hailing from the cities he plays, his own hometown, or—in many cases—an artist he picked up like a stray along the way because believes in their talent. There is no gaudy display of self-importance and no useless mass of bodies that most rappers would call an “entourage,” though serving little more purpose than re-enactment of high school lunch room shenanigans, on and off stage. Murs shows the locals a bit more respect. I’ve seen him ride in on a tricked-out tour bus, and roll thru ‘The ONE’ in a minivan, all the same. And each time, the show is lit, the talent is legit and personal connection seems more heightened each time.

At a recent show, on a cold and icy Sunday night, he comes out on stage to a smaller crowd than usual and tells his DJ “Forget the playlist, I’m glad to see those who made it out, so let’s just take requests.” This man just gave us a private show, and trust — those of us who did attend came unglued with excitement… and appreciation.

This man just gave us a private show, and trust — those of us who did attend came unglued with excitement…and appreciation.

I once gifted Murs with one of my popular “OMAGOODNESS” tees to show my own personal appreciation for the love he shows Omaha with each visit. A year later, he returned for another performance, and after the first song is done, he’s a bit hot under the lights so he tears off his hoodie revealing the same t-shirt I gave him. Yeah… that’s respecting the local.

-Steve Gordon, RDQLUS Creative