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interview BLU  (April 2011) | Interviewer Robert Baker

   Los Angeles rapper Blu has remained pretty low key since he released the critically acclaimed mixtape: Her Favorite Colo(u)r. But rest assured, Blu has been busy at work. And with his upcoming album No York dropping soon, Blu offers a glimpse into the album. Moreover, Blu discusses what it was like to collaborate with The Roots and independent artist Sene. And for the heads still salivating for the next Blu and Exile album, Blu offers some insight on when that album might drop.


Read on and enjoy. As always feel free to hit up the forum with questions or comments.

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Interview was done in March 2011

Questions Asked By: Robert Baker
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Dubcnn: Where youíve been lately?

Blu: Just been working on that new album No York. Weíre in the mixing stages. Weíre bouncing all over Cali trying to clash the right sounds for this record man cuz Iím kinda representing California with this record. It be good to get the proper representatives to make it official as possible.


Dubcnn: Will the No York Band be featured on the album?

 The No York Band we kind of put on hold man. We got a couple different ways of displaying the music live. The No York Band got put on hold until we got more James Brown covers from members.


Dubcnn: What is No York all about?

Itís about Cali. Itís about rapping and Cali.


Dubcnn: Will you be doing youíre on production on this album?

Nah. I got production from like Lotus, Exile, Sam I Am, Sa-Ra, Madlib. Itís a pretty crazy album.


Dubcnn: Will you have TaíRaach featured on the album or people youíve collaborated with in the past?

Iím still trying to get TaíRaach to come down to the studio man. Heís been on a secret mission right now. But uh, yeah we got some crazy features. We got Sa-Ra on the record. We got J Davey on the record. Pac Division. U-N-Iís on the record. We got Exile rapping on the record. So itís pretty well rounded. Know what I mean?


Dubcnn: I know youíve been working on a lot of collaboration albums. Will there be any collaboration albums coming out this year?

Uh, nah. Nah man. Pretty much just this No York album. Me and Exile did an album about a year and a half ago. Weíre contemplating on releasing it. Weíre just waiting for the right time to drop it. Itís a pretty personal record. We like to call it our memoir record. Weíre just waiting for the right time to release that to the people, but for now weíre just holding on to it. Exile has about three records that are waiting to be released now. And I have the No York album about to drop. After that, the next record probably will be the Blu and Exile which will be that collaborative piece. Nah mean?


Dubcnn: Wow. Canít wait for that to drop. What was it like to work with The Roots on their album?

Blu: The Roots were dope man. They gave me a call, flew me out to New York, and we just vibed out man. We hit the studio. Me and Black Thought sat down and wrote four joints man. Itís just an honor to put two of them on the album. Know what I mean? Sitting there with a legend I grew up listening to, and was heavily inspired by was pretty legendary in my book. Know what I mean?


Dubcnn: Yeah. That definitely must have been a great experience for you. What separates Godlee Barnes from Blu?

Godlee Barnes was when I started stepping into production and it was too hard to tame that moniker into just production so I end up doing a rap album. I did the alias Godlee Barnes. I did four records in 2009 and produced it on Pro Tools. That shit was just Pro Tools, and loops and drums and samples and drum loops. Yeah Godlee Barnes was the last record that kind of just tied them all up. It was kind of different from the direction I was going. It was good to just let that off my chest.


Dubcnn: Yeah and probably not only that you created another extension of yourself. I like that on every record you try to switch it up so it doesnít become monotonous. I remember watching an interview with Nas, and him saying that people were always looking for another Illmatic, and I felt thatís how people felt when they thought of Below the Heavens.

Oh yeah. And itís funny for me cuz I worked on all three of those records. My first three records at the same time. We worked on C.R.A.C. in two weeks. We worked on it in two week in between working on Below the Heavens in two years. We worked on Johnson and Jonson for a year in the same year we were working on Below the Heavens, expecting all those to pretty much to initially drop the same year. We just had so much shit going. But what end up happening was that we had all the release dates pretty much spread out the right way. But basically that was me letting all my styles down. There were a bunch of different angles I wanted to go that Exile didnít want me to particularly want me to go. There were certain sounds that me and Mainframe didnít want to do because Exile was already doing those. That style. So we chose to go different routes. There were different routes, but it was mainly to show how diverse I was so people wouldnít box me in like Nas and Illmatic or Blu and Below the Heavens. Know what Iím saying?


Dubcnn: Yeah, because people will do that quickly. It seems when you come solid, especially with your first album, they expect your next albums to follow the same format.

Oh right. Yeah. Word.


Dubcnn: I know youíve worked with Sene. How did that collaboration come about?

I met Sene when I flew out to Brooklyn. I happened be in the office and back then and later on I was introduced to his music through a mutual friend, and we ended up just doing a couple of songs together for a couple upcoming projects and then I stepped into the production field . One of the first people I stated working with, because of their hunger and what not and Iíve seen where they were going with their content, I felt like Sene was a good person for me to work with. So I reached out to Sene to see if heíd be down to rhyme on some tracks. And we ended up doing a couple albums worth of songs over some Godlee Barnes production. So he got down on that and dropped the Day Late and Dollar Short album. Just basically picked what songs he felt confident in out of all the songs we did.


Dubcnn: Okay. And youíre also working with ScienZe and Versis. Are they from Cali too?

ScienZe is from New York and Versis is from Cali. ScienZe got the Hall Pass album out and Versis got the Decadence album out. Itís a pretty dope record. I heard those and I was like, ďMan, these are just solid.Ē I actually met them both in New York.


Dubcnn: Okay. My first introduction to them was their song ďTaking the Day Off.Ē

Yeah thatís the open record. I released the instrumental record that a lot of heads rhymed on and reached out and killed the beat. Thatís when I dropped it to make songs to it. I actually post a lot of the songs on a specific web site called openchopshop.tumblr.com. You can get all the right songs that people recorded to old instrumental records there.


Dubcnn: Thatís cool. I didnít even know about that. Thatís really good looking out for people trying to showcase their talent.

Yeah. For sure man. Yeah I know thereí s a lot of hungry cats out there man. Yeah that beat CD was for the heads looking for beats and it just so happens that I was fortunate enough that they cut songs to the beat and they shared them with me. And now Iím sharing them with my fan base to let people know some emcees out there.


Dubcnn: Yeah, because itís really hard for people to make noise and create a buzz now-a-days. So for someone like you to do that means a lot it. That says a lot.

Yeah man. Definitely. These social networks are good ways to keep updated on an artistís progress and whatís going on. But yeah, itís such a progressive era right now. Know what I mean? It keeps a person busy trying to keep up with the different facets of music in these days of age.


Dubcnn: True indeed. Do you have any closing remarks?

Nah. Just look out for that No York album man. Ití has some dope shit on there man. The Amnesia 12íí dropped a day ago for all the heads interested in some of the records I produced. We have Amnesia from the Favorite Color EP available digitally and on vinyl. So for the vinyl heads out there weíre still pushing vinyl and marketing for yaíll. Keeping that area of the culture alive and moving.


Dubcnn: Thatís whatís up man. Thanks for the interview.

No worries. Peace.






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