Everything you ever wanted to know about the greatest MC. Since most of you don't live under a rock, you've probably heard Below the Heavens and think you get the idea of what Blu's about. However, you're wrong. Oh so wrong. So Imma make a little breakdown of all his different styles and albums and try and school the youth with wisdom.
In case you have been living under a rock, most people are familiar with Blu's collab album with Exile, Below the Heavens. Blu spits some stellar bars over Exile's upbeat soulful beats, with an MC-DJ chemistry rivaling some of the all time greats. Thematically the album gets more serious and introspective as it progresses, dealing with issues in Blu's life that are somewhat universal. A very interesting trait of a lot of Blu's verses are how he differs from traditional "conscious" rappers, while generally being grouped with them. While many conscious rappers try to give advice or answers to problems, Blu points out these problems in his life and admits he doesn't really know how to handle them, but still manages to stay alive and ok. Here are some tracks for your minds:
Blu also dropped 2 other full length albums around the same time as BTH, his album Johnson&Jonson with producer Mainframe, and The Piece Talks with producer Ta'Raach. J&J tends to be more traditional (in composition, not exactly sample choice) loops and Blu going in with braggadocio/street bars. Definitely a great project, although lacking the depth BTH has. Some highlights on J&J:
The Piece Talks is probably Blu's earliest project that dabbles in "experimental" territory, with very unconventional beats from Ta'Raach. Overall somewhat inconsistent, it's still a decent album to listen to, with a pretty unique sound.
Blu generally does his best work when he collabs with another producer, but on solo projects tends to have a very lofi sound, and is generally much more reserved. I'll admit that solo Blu is probably some of my least favorite of his stuff, but there are some gems:
Blu's first release on a major label, (No)York was not received very well, probably due to the fact that it was a pretty radical departure from his previous sounds. Most of the production is pretty electronic-flying-lotus esque; Blu gets more and more abstract with his lyrics as the album goes on. Overall a solid project, but took a while for me to appreciate. Here's my favorite:
My personal favorite Blu album is his second collab with Exile, Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them. Using a mix of nostalgic samples and live instrumentation, Exile creates an extremely cozy atmosphere where Blu can deliver some of his most poetic and well crafted lyrics.
Blu's last two projects have had extremely diverse sounds. Open Your Optics to Optimism with producer Fate invokes spacey-watery production with lyrics from Blu matching that vibe, while Cheetah in the City with Union Analogtronics has Blu on some ignorant drug dealing shit over production that sounds like Daft Punk making west coast hip hop. Both are definitely worth a listen, although I feel like Cheetah in the City will be more popular here.
Other Blu stuff that's good: Listen to his internal rhyme and alliteration on this first verse