Showing posts with label blu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blu. Show all posts

Monday, March 18, 2019

video review: 'a long red hot los angeles summer night' by blu & oh no

Another review for which I'm a bit late to the punch, but I still think it turned out okay.

Next up, we might just stay with indie hip-hop or do a subtle switch-up - stay tuned all the same!

album review: 'a long red hot los angeles summer night' by blu & oh no

You ever have those rappers where for as much you like them they frustrate the hell out of you, an artist you know is fully capable of delivering brilliance but can meander down weird paths that are far less potent than they should be.

Yeah, unsurprising to anyone Blu is in that camp for me - and to some extent, given his comprehensive discography and array of collaborations, I'd argue at this point the biggest issue is quality control. Because when Blu is focused and chooses to refine a project, we get near-classics like Below The Heavens with stellar production and really potent rapping. On the flip side, for as great of a rapper as Blu is with a taste for weirder production, the fact that he doesn't have more projects I'd consider classics is alarming, especially when said production feels compromised or messy and from people you'd expect better. As much as I still like 2014's Good To Be Home and some of his scattered EPs, I can't deny a few of the mixing and mastering questions, and I stand behind the criticisms I had of 2015's Bad Neighbor with M.E.D. and Madlib - I'm still a little in awe that Madlib delivered such a slapdash project, he's a much better producer than that project indicates. Granted, there's been rumors that Blu's relationship with Madlib has been contentious for years so who the hell knows what might have gone on behind the scenes - but when I heard that Blu was teaming up with producer Oh No and had won back some critical acclaim with another 'back-to-basics' project, I was reassured. Hell, people were saying that Good To Be Home was a trial run in comparison with this, so let's not waste time: what did we get from A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

video review: 'bad neighbor' by med, blu & madlib

Man, this record was disappointing, especially given the real talent behind it. Eh, you can't win them all.

Okay, as I said at the end of the video, next up is Little Mix, so stay tuned!

album review: 'bad neighbor' by med, blu & madlib

You ever hear about projects that sound like easy wins in theory but don't end up sticking the landing quite as well as you'd like in reality, perhaps tripped up by their own ambition or artistic choices? Well, if we're looking for two rappers where that might well be the case, M.E.D. and Blu are two examples. Now I've talked about Blu in the past when I reviewed his pretty damn great record Good To Be Home last year, and there's been rumours he had put something together with Madlib as early as 2012, when Blu released the project UCLA for a short time before pulling it when Madlib denied any involvement. But putting that aside, Blu's brand of pseudo-conscious and layered bars would probably be a solid as hell fit against Madlib's more soulful and eccentric production. 

Believe it or not, I was more worried about M.E.D., who had actually worked with Madlib on previous albums as a fellow member of Stones Throw Records, but had run into diminishing returns when his bars didn't quite rise to the level of the excellent production he was getting from producers like Oh No, Just Blaze, and even Dilla. And it wasn't like his monotone was bad - I listen to LMNO and Evidence, that sort of flow and delivery can work - but his rhymes could just feel more awkward than they should against that production, and his content wasn't anything all that special to me.

So when I heard that M.E.D., Blu, and Madlib were teaming up for a collaborative record, with features from MF Doom, Anderson .Paak, Aloe Blacc, Hodgy Beats, Oh No, and even Mayer Hawthorne of all people, I was interested but a little concerned. I expected Blu to fit right at home against Madlib's production - providing, of course, he didn't get lazy, and brought the lyricism that worked so well on Good To Be Home - but had M.E.D. improved enough as an MC to stand out? And would it even matter if he had - most collaboration albums like this feel more like an excuse to sit back, chill, and trade bars, so with the understanding the content was probably going to be nothing groundbreaking, what did we get?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

video review: 'good to be home' by blu

Man, it took entirely too long to get this video out, but between social schedule, moving plans, and the Roots discography I'm powering through (plus, you know, a full-time job and shit), it's to be expected.

Next up will be whatever I can get to next before June kicks into gear. Stay tuned!

album review: 'good to be home' by blu

The more I think about it, the more grateful I am that The Alchemist and Evidence dropped the excellent album Lord Steppington very early in the year. See, I'll admit that it's been a learning process for me to discover more acts in the hip-hop underground, and considering they brought on so many names onto that record to collaborate, I got a sampler of a whole selection of artists I might not have heard before. And considering most of them delivered solid lyrics, it definitely got me interested in future projects.

The first one that jumped out at me was Styles P's last album, which was pretty solid, but he was coming from gangsta rap of which I was at least somewhat familiar. But Blu was a different act entirely - originally debuting the mid-2000s with the extremely solid Below The Heavens and inspired by both gangsta and conscious rap with a hint of a Christian angle, Blu's jagged career trajectory has been interesting, if a little concerning for his fanbase. Between the No!York release which came just after his very brief tenure with Warner Records and a selection of EPs and projects that really were a mixed bag, I wasn't sure what I was going to be getting with his newest album, especially because I didn't really like his verse on his track on Lord Steppington, 'Tomorrow'. Admittedly, part of the problem was the beat on that track, but Blu's verse wasn't all that stellar and I wasn't impressed with his flow.

That said, I wasn't about to ignore his new album Good To Be Home, half because the collaboration list looked pretty impressive. Not only was a double disk with collaborations with The Alchemist and Evidence and Fashawn, but LMNO was also reportedly on the album as well, whose album After The Fact was one of my favourite hip-hop releases of last year. And I figured, hey, with such a rich list of collaborators, it'd probably be pretty interesting, right?