Whoever said Hip Hop was dead, obviously had not peeped Blu, a South Central LA native who defies any and all stereotypes we like to associate with cats from the hood and West Coast emcees.
For starters we have to take special note to the way the tall lanky emcee spells his name. There is no ‘E’ at the end and its a oversight that he often rhymes about. Second, Blu got hip to Hip Hop late in life. He is the stepson of a strict pastor who forbade him from listening to Hip Hop while he was growing up. His biological father is a member of the Bloods who listens to gangsta and Bay Area turf raps. To this day Blu’s dad calls him him ‘Flu’ instead of Blu. Thats how deep it gets.
According to Blu, he got turned onto groups like De La Soul only after hearing DMX. His musical upbringing and ultimate influences before being introduced to Hip Hop was centered around a diverse collection of artists ranging from Al Green to Thelonious Monk to Bob Dillon. It’s no mistake that the lead song off his ‘Below the Heavens‘ album is a remake of the Del’s classic ‘My World is…‘
Blu says he regrets missing the Golden era of LA Hip Hop which was personified by legendary spots like the Good Life and Hip Hop staples like Freestyle Fellowship, Jurassic 5, Project Blowed and the late Bigga B to name a few. However there’s no denying that his lyrical prowess and charismatic style kicks in where those legends left off.
Blu acknowledges that it was people like Charli2na of the J5 who sat him down and laced him up with lots of info and tales surrounding the scene of that bygone era. Much of what 2na told him was underscored by radio shows like The Wake Up Show and Friday Nite Flavas before it was unceramoniously taken off the air.
As Blu honed his emcee skills he cites Inspectah Deck of the Wu-Tang Clan, LA legend Cashus King and Planet Asia as being big influences. With respect to Deck, Blu says that he’s the illest emceee when it comes to kicking off a song. He cites the track Triumph as the one where Deck truly shines. Blu’s one regret with the new debut album ‘Below the Heavens‘ was not having Deck on. However when peeping songs like ‘Simply Amazing‘ you can clearly hear how he was inspired.
During our interview in which Blu walked us through a variety of songs including ‘Narrow Path‘, ‘Simply Amazing‘, ‘Show Me the Good Life‘ featuring singer Aloe Blacc of the Dirty Science Crew and ‘Bullet through Me‘ off an upcoming album called ‘Piece Talks‘, he admits that he has a lot to say and his feverishly working to put out 6 different projects which will allow him to get everything off his chest. He refuses to be limited by industry driven categories and limitations.
For example, in the song ‘Bullet Through Me‘ which is off the Piece Talks album produced by Ta’arach, Blu does an experimental cover of a Paul McCarthy song. He admits that upon first listens many will question where he is going and what he’s doing, but folks will learn to get passed any hesitations. His ultimate goal is to put fun back into Hip Hop and be creative. He also wants to help bring national attention back to LA and west coast Hip Hop. In 2008 where everyone is talking about Change, Blu’s attitude and outlook is right in step. This looks to be a big year for him.
You can peep the Blu interview on Breakdown FM by clicking the link below