With a new single “Kiss The Sky” hitting the blogosphere and iTunes today, what better time to chop it up with the enigmatic rapper we know as Blu and pick his brain about a plethora of topics – new and old. I spoke to him on his desire to venture into film, why he left Warner, his advice to new artists, his take on the “New West Coast,” his current creative space, what new projects are in the pipeline and his top five dream collaborations. (Interview by Andy Bustard)
What’s good, Blu? It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from you. What projects are you currently working on?
New shit wit the Professor Alchemist, preparing for the rerelease of the Flowers lp with Exile, the manufactured version will be fully mastered with new material also. Other than that, just besting on these beats, shout out to ANTHM and RealJWallace, got projects coming up with both those brothers yo!
In a recent interview, you expressed your desire to venture into films. What progress have you been making with this?
Writing, sitting on scripts, studying screen plays, keenly observing and reviewing my fav films, etc. But i am looking forward to that first step in film, whatever it may be.
Interview by: @aboynamedandy
Your new song “Kiss The Sky” just dropped. A lot of your music seems to tell a specific story or experience. Does this new track hold any special meaning?
Yes, I always wanted to do an album in my career called “Hungry.” A song that defined who i was coming up. Well i took that idea and incorporated it in this song because the title “kiss the sky” is very defining to myself holding the name Blu. They both are definitive and focus on my favorite part of rapping, ripping the beat!
M-Phazes did a great job of capturing that same soulful essence like Exile did on Below The Heavens. Do you have any further joints with M-Phazes in the pipelines?
Yah, I always respected M-Phazes work since I first heard him back in ‘08 we have been talking about doing more material and are planning on it.
You’ve remained pretty schtum about the Warner Bros. situation late last year. Can you share any details on why you left the label?
Warner sucked! Kweli left, Tick who signed the Beastie Boys left, my A&R Naim Ali (who A&R’d the Roots and Common) left. The president was fired or left. His son, the VP of Sire left. Them niggas got bought out by Russians who didn’t give a fuck about nothing but Rick Ross so..
What is your label situation currently?
New World Color for life! Fat Beats and Nature Sounds are our running mates with various projects on hand. The Flowers lp with Exile will be on Fat Beats and my next solo record will be released on Nature Sounds.
As an artist who’s worked under both major and independent labels, what advice would you offer new artists considering either route?
Do you, that’s what I’ve said since ’06. Be you, the world knows you better that way..
You’ve worked with some legendary producers in your career. There’s Madlib, Pete Rock and obviously Exile. Are there any more beatmakers of this caliber that you’re looking to work with?
I’ve been talking to Pete and we are looking to officially work, um this new kid out the 909 named Bombay is probably the west coast big secret right now, specially on the chops!
Blu – “The Clean Hand” (prod. by Pete Rock)
Your collaborative project with Madlib, UCLA got pulled online shortly after its release earlier this year. Why was that exactly? And can we expect to see the record resurface?
Maybe, Med and I just sent all of our vocals over to Madlib, I got overzealous. We were working on a group record and I mixtaped my solo songs and egon was not feeling it!
Your interview with HardKnockTV last year is one of my favourite Hip-Hop interviews. You spoke on your admiration for emcees like Common and Andre 3000. Are there any current artists that have made you say “wow”?
Kendrick Lamar, the new chick out of NY who has that record w Jim Jones is crazy, um Chris Brown’s rap shit, Gangrene and Dew Rag Dynasty bro…illest shit so far.
The “New West Coast” is something’s that a big talking point these days. I feel like you could be considered an OG of this movement, so what’s your opinion of California’s new artists like Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Tyler, The Creator and co.?
Haha, I love those guys, ScHoolboy had one of the best debut albums in my opinion and Tyler is like Kobe, out of high school, and since he just started he has a long wonderful road of great music making ahead of him.
Taking records like Open into consideration, the majority of your output is made available for free download. Is there a reason behind that?
MySpace was the shit, got me mad girls back then yo, so I was cranking out music for the ladies. Later on, labels caught on and luckily they picked up and rereleased most of the work I released for free.
Obviously Below The Heavens is considered a modern classic in many hip-hop circles. How do you react to that respect?
Man, they just pressed the vinyl this year and it sold out so quick bro, I don’t even have a copy man. That album dropped in ‘07 and it’s still selling out, next press!
On that album, your lyrical content was centered around childhood, love, heartbreak, striving for success and many other relatable topics. What creative space would you say you’re in currently?
Being a G, surrounded by BG’s and OG’s bro. Just carving my spot ‘til it’s solidified, feel me!
You’ve got quite a reputation for dropping material with little prior warning. Can you speak on any future projects you have in the works and share any release dates?
Nope, just keep all three eyes and all four ears open!
And finally, if you had to name your top five dream collaborations – non-genre specific, who would they be?
Nikki Minaj, Nikki Jean, Jack Davey (again on the raps), Tiombe and Lex on some rap shit and last um, Jane Doe and Rah Digga Digga!
A.J. “New Word Color” May 22, 2012
http://takinmines.diamondmedia360.com/2012/05/blu-kiss-the-sky-interview, May. 22, 2012