Archives

Blu & Exile’s Video Imagines Their Playful Chemistry 20 Years Before “Below The Heavens”

Blu and Exile are back with heartfelt visuals to match the pensive rhymes and nostalgic sounds. "Constellations" weaves a visual tapestry that explores the essence of youth and the knowledge of being star-born. The song is off of their recent album In The Beginning: Before The Heavens. The video takes viewers back... Read more

Phonte Spits An MVP Verse For Domo Genesis’ “Shaq Carried Kobe” (Audio)

Sports analogies in Hip-Hop are nothing new. Such references can be the lifeblood of a musical genre that often likens itself to a "game” and thrives on competition. Phife Dawg, Chuck D, Kool Keith, and Ice Cube are just some of the masters of sports metaphor and simile. Domo Genesis'... Read more

Blu & Exile Take The Meaning Of Soulful Hip-Hop To A New Place (Video)

One of the legends of twentieth-century music relates to the Delta Blues pioneer, Robert Johnson, who died at the age of 27 in 1938. According to the historic tale, the itinerant musician Johnson sold his soul to the devil down at the crossroads of Highway 49 and 61 in Clarksdale, Mississippi to... Read more

Blu & Exile Release A Prequel To Their Below The Heavens Album (Full Stream)

Ten years ago, Blu & Exile’s Below The Heavens debut sparked an enthusiastic reaction, with fans and critics immediately claiming it as a classic and last call of the booming Underground Hip-Hop movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Listening now to previously unreleased tracks from the same sessions,... Read more

Blu & Exile’s “Below The Heavens” Outtakes Are Better Than Many MCs’ Rap Caviar (Audio)

Ten years ago, Blu & Exile released their expansive slice of California dreaming, Below the Heavens. Now, in a kind of Hip-Hop Star Wars move, the Los Angeles duo is offering up a prequel to the 2007 classic album, called In the Beginning: Before the Heavens. Blu & Exile Share... Read more

Elzhi & Blu Show Other Rappers They Are No Ordinary MCs (Audio)

With his third studio album, The Ordinary Man due out in a matter of weeks, L'Orange is offering a sneak peak of the project courtesy of the Blu and Elzhi-assisted, "The Difference." Talib Kweli & Blu Gang Up On A Beat. It’s Fight Night For 2 Great MCs (Audio) "The... Read more

Talib Kweli & Blu Gang Up On A Beat. It’s Fight Night For 2 Great MCs (Audio)

In 2007, the same summer Blu & Exile released Below The Heavens, Talib Kweli dropped Eardrum. One MC made an indelible underground debut, while the other, from a similar trajectory, released a #2 overall LP on the charts, marking a new plateau. Ten years later, these two artists from opposing... Read more

Blu & Exile Share The 1st Of 14 Unheard Songs From Below The Heavens Sessions (Audio)

UPDATE: More than a month since announcing that expanded Below The Heavens sessions would be released, fans have their first taste. "Constellations" is one of 14 songs included on October 20's In The Beginning - Before The Heavens LP. Within, Heads get to travel back to the mid-2000s to hear... Read more

10 Years Ago, Blu & Exile’s “Below The Heavens” Resurrected Underground Rap

Ten years ago (July 17, 2007), Blu & Exile combined forces for their Below The Heavens album. At a time when so-called "underground Hip-Hop" was sounding like a passé term, if not taken as an unintended diss, these two Southern Californians excited the culture through very straightforwardly channeling their souls... Read more

Divine Intervention: Blu & Exile Are Back Together, Recording In The Studio

This July marks 10 years since Blu & Exile released Below The Heavens. The Sound In Color album did not make the charts, but in a year remembered by Kanye West and 50 Cent's famous battle for commercial supremacy, it may be one of the last and most celebrated entries... Read more

Blu & Nottz Raise The Bar and the Volume With Their Titans In The Flesh EP (Audio)

A decade ago, Blu was one of the most exciting MCs in Hip-Hop. By 2007's Below The Heavens album with Exile, the Los Angeles, California MC perfected Everyman themes, with an original delivery. Fans took notice, and at the frontier of the digital age, took a Sound In Color release... Read more

Underground Hip-Hop Is Very Much Alive In 2016. One DJ Mixes It All Together.

Often times, the glory days of Underground Hip-Hop appears coincidental with the booming resurgence of vinyl records in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Out of a movement spearheaded by radio personalities such as Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito, and Sway and King Tech, a crop of hungry artists emerged that... Read more

Like J Dilla, Blu & Miguel Proved To Be Diamonds In The Rough (Audio)

More than 10 years since the game-changing producer/MC passed away, J Dilla's music is living strong in 2016. Next week, Dilla's family will release an album he worked on for many years in the early 2000s, The Diary. In May, Dilla's family will re-release another title from his beloved discography.... Read more

Listen To The Best Hip-Hop of February (& January) 2016 In One Playlist (Audio)

The month of February brought many surprises in Hip-Hop. DJ Premier partnered with ambient songstress Yuna, for some boom bap vibe music. Blu rocked on a 45 King track reminiscent of "Hard Knock Life." Kendrick Lamar and Ice Cube got funky with Funkadelic. The Game waxed poetic with nothing but... Read more

45 King Reaches In His Pocket Full Of Miracles & Hands Blu A Gem (Audio)

Almost 20 years ago, 45 King (and Kid Capri) gave Jay Z one of the biggest anthems of his career with "Hard Knock Life." Before the vocal sample trend would define the early 2000s, the original Flavor Unit founder returned to form by letting the cast of Annie chronicle life... Read more

Blu & Rapper Big Pooh Say It’s Do Or Die When The Stakes Are High (Audio)

In 2015, Rapper Big Pooh and Nottz came together to release Home Sweet Home. The Mello Music Group LP had been anticipated for years, and delivered with strength from the two Virginia native creatives. Just under three months removed from release day (November 13), now is as good a time... Read more

Black Thought, Jay Electronica, & Bun B Added To 2016 J Dilla Weekend Lineup

There have been some major changes surrounding the 2016 J Dilla Weekend. The second annual event in Miami, Florida will take place February 5-7. The event, hosted by J Dilla's mother, Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey, features concert performances, art exhibits, panels, record swap meets, and more. The main venue for... Read more

Blu & Exile’s Below The Heavens vs. Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

De La Soul Are Performing Together to Honor J Dilla During His Tribute Weekend

In late December, the second annual J Dilla Weekend was announced. The Miami, Florida event will take place the weekend of February 5-7, and will be hosted by Dilla's mother, Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey. With Slum Village, Royce Da 5'9", Rapsody & 9th Wonder, Blu & Exile, Chuck Strangers, A-F-R-O,... Read more

DJ Premier, Slum Village, Royce Da 5’9″, Rapsody & 9th Wonder To Perform At 2016 J Dilla Weekend

The second annual J Dilla Weekend has been announced. The Miami, Florida extension of Detroit, Michigan's longstanding J Dilla Day will take place on February 5-7, 2016. Hosted by Maureen "Ma Dukes" Yancey (Dilla's mother), the event continues a rich tradition of celebrating James Yancey's life and music through performances,... Read more

Red Pill Joins Blu For A Song About The Strife Life On A Soothing Oddisse Beat (Audio)

Michigan MC Red Pill is gifted in putting the circumstances of everyday twenty-something living. He makes songs about recreational alcoholism, a generational chasm, and going in on some junk food. But whatever the topic, the Mello Music Group MC comes with a sincerity and soul that's hard to replicate. For... Read more

Blu, Rapper Big Pooh & Nottz Carry Some Sweet Soul Across Oceans (Audio)

Fresh off of Home Sweet Home, Rapper Big Pooh and Nottz keep the chemistry flowing. The Virginia pair team with Blu for a triangle offense, who seizes some Australian Soul. Bankrupt Billionaires is a Brisbane act with the booming vocals of Kel On Earth. Band producers Sammsonite and DATS turn... Read more

Phonte & Like Join Madlib, Blu & MED For A Head-Nodding Groove (Audio)

Historically, when Phonte links with Madlib, some amazing audio moments result. 2010's "Best Of Times" collabo with Strong Arm Steady on a Madlib track yielded a video single that still endures. Five years later, 'Tigalo links with 'Lib, care of the Oxnard, California MC/producer/DJ's trio with Blu and MED. Pac... Read more

Listen to the Best Hip-Hop of September 2015 in One Playlist (Audio)

As the Fall set in, the hot Hip-Hop continued to flow. September brought not one, but two songs from the elusive DOOM, one of LL Cool J's strongest verses in years, a power collabo between Nas and Scarface, an unreleased track from Jay Electronica, Redman's release from his forthcoming album... Read more

Madlib, DOOM, Blu & MED Knock the Door Down on a Groovy New Song (Audio)

Like a villain in the night, the masked MC named DOOM has resurfaced with 2 new tracks in as many weeks. After reprising his role as part of DOOMSTARKS with Ghostface Killah on the Adult Swim-released "Lively Hood," DOOM re-teams with another esteemed partner in Madlib. Blu, MED and Madlib... Read more

Blu Teams With Lords Of The Underground’s Hit-Makers For A Funky Jam (Audio)

From Madlib to 9th Wonder, Mainframe to DJ Exile, Edan to Flying Lotus, Blu has made his travels musically, teaming with a litany of producers. This time, the Los Angeles, California native links with New Jersey's K-Def. Not exactly a household name producer, the onetime DJ Marley Marl protege has... Read more

Blu Epitomizes the Term “Real Hip-Hop” on The Return (Video)

Blu was not a gang banger. He makes that crystal clear in his opening line on "The Return." Yet, unlike many of his peers who make false claims of affiliations, he paints a sobering picture of the costs that can come with those ties. Without judgement or glorification, he calmly... Read more

Masta Ace & Blu Sound Great Together During This Long Hot Summer (Audio)

Western Pennsylvania native Maticulous brings Masta Ace and Blu together on "Bet Your Life." From Brownsville, Brooklyn to the City Of Angels, Ace and Johnson Barnes have a lot in common. Both of these MCs are more than gifted at looking within (often in self-deprecating lights), while still being elite... Read more

Blu Addresses Passing On A Death Row Deal On The Thriller (Audio)

It has been a quiet three months for Blu. The MC/producer known for a relentless appetite for releasing music may be quiet for good reason. Today (June 29), the Los Angeles, California native announced a Nature Sounds maxi-single, The Return. With some remixes and DJ-goodies, Johnson Barnes delivers "Thriller." Featuring... Read more

MC Eiht, Blu & Kam Come Together To Throw A Lyrical ‘W’ (Audio)

Growing up in the same backdrop of Los Angeles, California, MC Eiht, Kam, and Blu all illustrated the dichotomy of being a wordsmith and a gangsta rapper at the same time. For Eiht, those examples stem back to the mid-1980s in the rise of Comptons Most Wanted, reporting live about... Read more

Blu & MED Release a Mixtape Strictly for the Underground. No Fakers Allowed (Audio)

While they're both old soul MCs, both Blu and MED utilize the digital age to the fullest. The two sunny Southern California lyricists release music at a pace that would make 2Pac proud. Whether the albums are on major labels, legendary indies, or bootlegged by the men who made them,... Read more

Blu, Skyzoo & Kool G Rap Get Remixed By Large Professor, Diamond D & More (Album Stream)

Coalmine Records loves a remix. The Brooklyn, New York-based independent label mined their catalog, including joints from Blu, Heltah Skeltah, El Da Sensei, Guilty Simpson, Kool G Rap, Royce Da 5'9", Skillz, and more, and issued up some new remixes. The handiwork on the flips comes from the heralded likes... Read more

Blu & Large Professor Come Together For That Signature Extra P Remix (Audio)

Back in 2012, Blu teamed up with W.A.R. Media's Mela Machinko for a Coalmine Records single, "Kiss The Sky." Johnson Barnes was in his pocket, and dropped some smooth stream of consciousness on a chopped down beat that paid homage to '70s Soul and scratch DJs at once. Nearly three... Read more

Listen to Over 170 of the Best Hip-Hop Songs of 2014 in One Playlist (Audio)

2014 was an incredibly diverse year for Hip-Hop, musically and thematically. Many of the sounds that have dominated airwaves and web streams remained, but something returned that had been missing from the culture for quite some time: the voice of the people. In a year that saw more unrest in... Read more

Score 2 for the Underground. Homeboy Sandman & Blu Release a Joint EP (Mixtape)

Here's a welcomed surprise. Amidst the season of giving, two of the fiercest guardians of underground Hip-Hop come together for a joint project. Hombeboy Sandman has released Homeboy Sandman is Sandman, a new free EP with words by him and beats by Blu. Check out the stream and download below.... Read more

Blu’s soul amazing Returns, With A 31-Track Part Four (Album Stream)

For the fourth time in two years, Blu has released a soul amazing collection. Part Four, as it were, includes 31 songs, stemming from a host of projects, well known and otherwise. Those collaborative efforts include work with Black Milk, Nottz, Cunninlynguists, Rapsody, and even a rare Large Professor remix.... Read more

Here’s a Playlist of the Best Hip-Hop of November 2014 (Audio)

November was dominated by members of Wu-Tang Clan and Shady 2.0. Eminem, the Wu, Royce Da 5'9" & DJ Premier, Ghostface Killah and Slaughterhouse all had big records (or several). Here's a playlist featuring music by them, as well as De La Soul, Chuck D, Juvenile, Big K.R.I.T., M.O.P., AZ,... Read more

Blu Makes A Trippy Track That Seems Inspired By De La Soul (Audio)

Although he represents a coast across the country from Amityville, Long Island, Blu is definitely a De La Soul disciple. Johnson Barnes' vulnerability, his love of far-reaching concepts, interludes and skits are surely inspired by Posdnuos, Maseo, and Dave (as well as Prince Paul). A lover of Jazz, Funk, and... Read more

Finding The GOAT: Elzhi vs. Blu…Who You Got?

As we continue the ultimate battle for the title of the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time), we are asking you to help us rank who is the greatest MC to pick up a mic. We will take over 35 years of Hip-Hop into consideration, pairing special match-ups in a sequence not... Read more

Blu, MED & J. Rocc Make A Sparse Ill AXEL F Cut & Shine (Audio)

Add another dope release to the November Rap calendar. AXEL F, the tandem of MED and J. Rocc (Jaylib) will release Theme Music on November 24 on Bang Ya Head Entertainment. After some work in late 2013, the tandem links again with close affiliate Blu for "Omega." Blu sets things... Read more

Surock & Blu Go Off on a G-Funk Banger. Get Your Broccoli (Audio)

This is a welcome surprise. Surock teams up with Blu on a heavy G-Funk-influenced banger. "Broccoli" is a reference to another green celebrated back in the day by Dr. Dre and the sticky funk is the perfect soundtrack. Check it out. Related: Love Lives After Armageddon With L’Orange & Blu’s... Read more

Love Blu? You’ll Like Choosey & Exile A Lot, Especially Fly Me To The Moon (Video)

As AFH pointed out in discussing Dag Savage, Exile is exceptional at developing introspective artists into fan favorites. With successes with Blu, Fashawn, Aloe Blacc, and now Johaz, the Echo Park-based DJ/producer turns his focus to Choosey, who appeared on E&J. "Fly Me To The Moon" takes the vocal Jazz... Read more

Love Lives After Armageddon With L’Orange & Blu’s Need You (Video)

Producer L'Orange and MC Blu are no stranger to collaborating with one another and the duo continue to burgeon their musical relationship with their latest video for the single, "Need You," from L'Orange's upcoming album, The Orchid Days. The video itself is a three pronged attack of exceptional sight, sound,... Read more

7 Years Ago Today, Blu & Exile Released Below The Heavens & Changed The Game. AFH Celebrates The Back-story & Impact With Exile (Food For Thought Interview)

Seven years ago today, the Hip-Hop faithful was formally introduced to an obscure assemblage of 15 tracks, constructed by an equally arcane Los Angeles rooted duo, Blu & Exile, that over the subsequent years from its unveiling, would prove to be one of the most compelling and dynamic collections of... Read more

This Week Brought Visuals From Redman, Souls of Mischief, Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000 & More (Video Playlist)

This week in video brought new music videos from Redman, Souls of Michief & Snoop, Ras Kass, Blu and The-Dream; a look at Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix; freestyles from Joell Ortiz & Chris Rivers (aka Baby Pun); interviews with Joe Budden discussing Battle Rap and Big K.R.I.T. & Common... Read more

Blu Cautions Fakin’ The Funk In A Graffiti-Inspired Visual (Video)

On a true tear in 2014, Blu continues to spread his seeds of thought around bountifully. The Los Angelino appears on Astronote's "Rhymes On Paper." The producer invites the guest to kick knowledge about promoting lies through lyrics, and how such results don't deserve mic-device transmission. Johnson Barnes essays the... Read more

Blu, MED & Dam-Funk Are Buzzin’ Over Madlib Beats (Video)

Madlib, the producer, MC and DJ who has worked collaboratively in the past with the likes of MF DOOM (Madvillain) and J Dilla (JayLib), stayed close to home to work with MED and Blu to produce most of their 2013 joint project, The Burgundy EP. Just nine months later, The... Read more

The Best Hip-Hop in May Included Slaughterhouse, KRS-One, Ghostface, Ab-Soul, Common, Cormega, The Roots & Much More (Audio Playlist)

Before we get too deep into June, here's a look back at some of the best Hip-Hop to drop in May and there was an abundance...You'll hear new music from Slaughterhouse, Cormega, KRS-One, Ab-Soul, Rapsody, Ghostface, Common, Mac Miller, De La Soul, Nitty Scott, MC, The Roots, Blu, Freddie Gibbs,... Read more

Homeboy Sandman Makes An Oceanic Cut Over Some ’70s-Tastic Blu Production (Audio)

Two of the most versatile voices in the contemporary Underground Hip-Hop world are Homeboy Sandman and Blu. Running in similar circles (Stones Throw Records, Sene, etc.), the pair comes together nicely on "Atlantis." H.B.S. states why underwater is the place to be, given some of the goings-on to be found... Read more

In The Mood For Some Pharoahe Monch, Blu, Royce Da 5’9 & More? Stream Coalmine Records’ Unearthed LP (Audio)

Brooklyn-based Coalmine Records has been consistently working with Hip-Hop luminaries from coast-to-coast, and abroad. The label has facilitated projects ranging from The Artifacts' El Da Sensei to Blu & Nottz' EP, to Rah Digga releases, and of course the Guilty Simpson x Small Professor collision. Celebrating a decade in indie... Read more