Blu and Exile - "First Thing's First"
2008 was the year when I fell out of love with contemporary American Hip-Hop. I still checked for my favourite rappers and their new releases, but I just wasn't following it like I used to. Then, towards the end of the year, I belatedly discovered two artists who made me excited about the future of this music. One of those artists was Charles Hamilton, who I'll probably write a post on at a later date. The second is an MC called Blu, who, along with producer Exile, in 2007 released "Below The Heavens", one of the great Hip-Hop albums of the 21st Century. Here's a real lyricist, rhyming with substance about real issues over some lush and soulful beats.
So here's my favourite track from the album. It's probably not his best joint, but it's the one that jumped out at me lyrically. To me, I feel the same way about this guy as I did when I heard Talib Kweli for the first time, or when I first started listening to Kanye. This is authentic music, not born of any formula for chart success, but instead a product of the artist's desire to give an honest account of themselves and their grind in the booth.