Blu and Exile
By Jack Barnes
Blu‘s fluid and incisive rhyming style perfectly complements Exile dusty, crate-digging instrumentals, creating a retro sound built to stand the test of time. Returning with another outtake from the sessions of their 2007 underground classic Below The Heavens, Blu & Exile share “On The Radio,” a head-nodding sunburst of a statement of purpose for the duo. Premiered by VIBE, “On The Radio” explains the depth of difference between the L.A. duo and mainstream rap. Enjoy this audio stream below after the jump.
As Blu sings in the chorus, “Feels like Hip-Hop’s lost its soul/Cause every time I’m on the road/Ain’t no matter where I go/Same shit’s on the radio.” “On The Radio” is the latest release from In The Beginning: Before The Heavens a follow-up and companion piece to Below The Heavens, comprised of unreleased original cuts from the Below The Heavens sessions. Last week, the duo shared the funky boom-bap “Back To Basic’s,” premiered by XXL. Featuring appearances from Aloe Blacc, Co$$, Donel Smokes, Blame One, and more, In The Beginning: Before The Heavens releases on October 20th.
“This song was our attempt to make a radio song exactly stating how we feel about the radio,” explains Blu. “Our way of keeping it true and not selling out even for the album. This is one of the songs that helped me get more open with writing the rest of the album. One of Exile’s oldest beats, he pulled that from deep out the vault. I was like… ‘oh, that’s me.'”
With his fluid, incisive rhyming style and his intellectual lyrics, L.A. rapper Blu found his ideal aesthetic match in the soulful beats of crate-digging producer/DJ Exile. Released in Summer 2007, Below The Heavens received rave reviews from tastemakers and appeared on many year-end best-of lists. The momentum from Below The Heavens led to Blu’s signing to Warner Bros. Records, and propelled the young rapper onto the 2009 XXL Freshman List alongside B.o.B, Kid Cudi, and Wale. In 2012, Blu and Exile reunited for Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, expanding the palette of Below The Heavens and showcasing Blu’s multi-syllabic dexterity. In 2017, the duo reunited for the nationwide headlining Below The Heavens 10th Anniversary tour. “We planted the seeds of creativity and grew about 40 plants,” Exile says of In The Beginning: Before The Heavens. “We picked the ones that we thought were the best for an album, but that didn’t mean that the other flowers weren’t beautiful. I’m super happy to re-release [In The Beginning] to people and have it actually get some attention that it definitely deserves. It’s amazing.” Stay tuned for In The Beginning: Before The Heavens, coming out October 20th.
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