At first glance, one wouldn't take Ian Harrison as a quick-witted wordsmith and master of rhymes. He isn’t, among other cliches, weighed down with bling or popping bottles nightly in the limelight. Harrison uses the stage name “Muenster” (not to be confused with the delicious cheese) and is a talented yet unassuming local rapper hailing from Austin and staking his claim in Denton.
If Muenster is a Superman-like alter-ego, Harrison is a definite Clark Kent, a middle-aged family man who works a day job fit for an Average Joe, all the while being anything but average. But when he takes the stage or spends any time in the booth, he’s a force to be reckoned with. Muenster’s words often call out his fellow Caucasians to take a look at the reality of racial and social issues, and challenges them to be held accountable.
Harrison grinds harder than most. He’s been writing and performing for over 10 years at an impressively long list of venues.
The rapper has just issued his fourth release, Weirdope. His verses are full of intricate riddles that flow alongside hard truths, backed by music and head-bopping beats.
“I have created a new work of art,” Harrison says. “And for the very first time, it is something I believe is worthy of wax. I am working with Sun Press Vinyl out of Miami, who alongside Tuff Gong, is going to press this record up.”
Vinyl releases certainly aren’t a common occurrence in the rap world, but Harrison seems to enjoy going against the herd. One of his music videos, directed by Tuna Pryor, was shot in just a matter of days, in between a strenuous work training. Between his two lives, he hardly remembers feeling satisfying sleep or rest.
Harrison continues to try to best his biggest rival, himself.
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“I have intentionally tapped into the nuance, pulse or current culture wave of particular song structure or bass-heavy modern production to draw in a new audience,” he says. “I coupled that approach with staying on message to the narrative we are being driven to accept or be disregarded as a hater or irrelevant.”
Harrison’s most recent video, for his song “Message,” is a perfect example of his readiness to challenge the norm and push limits. In the video, he portrays multiple people — mumble rappers, a preacher, a criminal and a police officer — while rapping about social issues such as police brutality.
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Harrison doesn't mind if he’s disliked for his art or for his message. Album after album he continues to cook up addictive songs that speak to multiple generations. His thrilling live performances show unrivaled energy. His latest release is a reflection of his ever-growing passion for his art.
“Weirdope is different from not only my previous releases, but different in my approach to hip-hop creation as a whole,” he says. “I am taking the social norms and the current pulse of what we are being force-structured with by the machine, or the industry standard if you will.”
With the album, Harrison hoped to inspire a sense of community and display another level of musical versatility. The rapper surrounds himself with like-minded individuals, he says, who are equally passionate and committed to creating music with a message, a sort of ethically sourced hip-hop.
“By imploding or dissecting and re-creating a new sound based on social commentary and observation, I am following a norm or a standard that we are presented with but turning it on its head,” Muenster says. “Come and see.”