Murk: A female rapper extolling the virtues of the Proverbs 31 woman

Wednesday 18th March 2015

Tony Cummings reports on a new-to-scene Memphis-based emcee, MURK


The heartening rise of Christian hip-hop has just taken another giant stride forward with the release of 'P31' by female rapper Murk. With a deal with Dedicated Music Group, top rate production on her EP by beats maestro Mr Del and a viral success for the video for the track "P31" things are going from strength to strength for the rapper from Peoria, Illinois. It's been a winding path for the emcee. In Peoria she discovered her love of theatre and performing on stage. It continues to Florida, where she moved with her mother after a death in her family left them feeling disillusioned and disappointed with God. It took her to a performing arts high school in Tampa, where she discovered street culture - the good and the bad - and where she fell in love with hip-hop. It took her from one college major to the next, to a toxic group of friends, to a career she wasn't sure she wanted.

She remembered, "I got so burned out. I just got frustrated. I remember this one day when I was crying in my car, and I was like 20 years old, and I was just saying, 'I don't know what to do God.'" Her mother also turned to prayer and laid down one simple rule: if you want to live in this house, you must go to church. Murk agreed, though at first that Sunday morning routine didn't do much to change her Saturday nights. She remembered the day when her direction really changed. She said, "I just knew I wasn't happy. I came home from church one day and I was just crying in my room. I was talking to God, 'I just really want a relationship with you, to know you better, to change my life and start over.' I just started confessing these things out loud, like 'I am bold' and 'I am courageous' and I remember this feeling came over me. It was a feeling of release of so much pain, and so much worry, and so much stress."

After Murk's conversion her mother tried to get her to listen to a Christian rapper she'd found online. Murk was sceptical. But the rapper was Lecrae and the mixtape was 'Church Clothes'. "I was like, this is Don Cannon - this isn't Christian music!" she laughed. "But then I started listening to his lyrics and I realised that it was, and it was really good." It wasn't long before she was inspired to start writing some verses again. Murk called her cousin, who was still making beats, and they worked on a track. When he posted a video of her rapping on YouTube, the reaction was instant. She remembered, "People were writing on my Facebook page, saying, 'Oh my gosh, girl! You can rap! You're so good!' And I was like, 'I am?' And after that the music started growing. I was writing songs all the time."

She wrote, constantly. She was inspired, constantly. In a matter of months she had dozens of songs, a few performances under her belt and an opportunity to compete for $5,000 and a record contract in Miami. "At the time I had only been rapping for like five months," she admitted. She went on through round after round of competition and ended up taking the trophy - and meeting one of the judges on the final panel, Universal/Dedicated Music Group recording artist Mr Del.

"Once I got through that first round of the competition it dawned on me that this could be it, this could be the moment and I needed to take it seriously and start confessing it," Murk said. "I had been speaking this stuff and I believed it. Where everyone else was just like, 'Well, maybe I'll win, we'll see what happens' - I had been talking to God and telling God I was going to win. I knew that faith was what was going to make it happen."

It wasn't long before the high of winning the contest was shattered as the promises started to unravel. Things didn't turn out the way she'd hoped and she was left without a recording contract. "I felt like, 'Hey God, this whole time I've changed my life for you, this wasn't even necessarily my dream. It was a calling. And then for this to happen?' It was like everything that could go wrong, did. I was so frustrated, but there was something in me that was like, 'Just trust God. If he wants this to happen then it is his responsibility.'"

A few months later, Murk got a call from Mr Del. She'll never forget that day, because until the phone rang it was one of those days when every domino seemed to be falling on her, all in a row. Her car had broken down. Her bank account was in the red. She was no closer to that right path, she thought, than she had been before the contest.

Remembered Murk, "When Mr Del called he said he just wanted to check in on me and see how things were going after the competition. I told him what happened and he said he was glad that God put me on his heart and glad that he called me."
Mr Del offered Murk a recording deal with his label, Dedicated Music Group. But that meant a move. In 2013, Murk and her mother gave away everything they owned and packed up - nothing but their clothes - into one car and moved to Memphis.

Murk:  A female rapper extolling the virtues of the Proverbs 31 woman

One thing which may be problematic for Murk is that there is already a well established rapper in the mainstream with that name, claiming that M.U.R.K. stands for Miami's Underground Rap King. And as those versed in street culture will tell you, "murk" has a dark meaning. defines the word as "To physically beat someone so severely, they end up dying from their injuries."

Christendom's female rapper admitted, "Murk does mean to kill. But God showed me that you have to kill your flesh daily in order to walk and be with Christ. I had to kill the old person that I was in order to be this new person."

In the summer of 2014 Murk released her album 'Murk In Season'. It featured the song "P31" with an infectious, repetitive hook that denounces artificial beauty and instead boasts in the inner beauty of being a Proverbs 31 girl/woman. The lyrics boldly share guidelines and standards that a virtuous woman of God should live by. It teaches women to respect themselves while also teaching men to respect women and their values. As a press release stated, "It is the ultimate celebration of receiving salvation and a divine spiritual makeover from Christ. It encourages every P31 to get up, dance, and 'go live'!" CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


Reader Comments

Posted by Cheryl Jefferson in Memphis @ 11:56 on May 3 2017

trying to buy gospel rapper-Murk CD, can't find online to order.

Posted by Letrecia M Flowers in Senatobia,MS @ 17:05 on Sep 3 2015

Abosulutly love you music!!!

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