Interview with Blu: “‘Good To Be Home’ may be my best record to date”

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“Can we transform? Revelations born from the madness. Ashes to ashes, no more classics.”

Blu had his first breakout in 2007 with his release of Below The Heavens with producer Exile. Since then, he has released many albums, EPs, merchandise, and has even taken a break for a year or two from music. He has attempted and conquered every bit of the hip-hop industry from rapping, to singing melodies, to producing beats. A couple weeks ago, he released his collaboration with MED and Madlib, The Burgundy EP digitally and on vinyl. Today, the Handful of Dust EP dropped on Bandcamp featuring ANTHM with the bars and Blu on the boards as GODleeBarnes. While I could write about the California rapper for hours, I won’t bore you with an essay. I was honored to have a chance to get him to answer some questions about his previous work, his new album with ANTHM, his upcoming album, Good To B Home, with producer Bombay, and more.

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Who and what is Blu?

Blu is a reflection of Hip Hop as the Sky is a reflection of the Ocean.

Who and what is GODleeBarnes?

GODlee Barnes is my Grandfather’s Grandson.

What was the best movie you’ve seen recently?

Life Of Pi.

Do you miss the days of uploading music on MySpace for the fans?

Nope. Its vinyl takeover time. Records are at an all time high in sales, and it just so happens to be my favorite format to listen to music.

I actually named this blog after one of the songs off of the project A Day Late & A Dollar Short that you did with Sene. What’s the relationship between you and the New York emcee?

We just did some shows in NY, I’ve been working with two other fellow Brooklyn emcees, Anthm & Scienze, and we all still collaborate and chop shit whenever I hit the Apple.

Are there any plans to give the GodleeBarnes LP a proper release like No York, and Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them?

“World Gone Blind”

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Will a collaboration project between you and Alchemist ever see the light of day?

As of now we have a handful of songs but we are both extremely tied up with our projects that we just aren’t sure as of right now.

I heard that “The Clean Hand” was going to be pressed to vinyl and that you were recently in the studio with Pete Rock. What should we be expecting from this?

We should be expecting the official release of “The Clean Hand”, with the official Pete Rock stamp!

Where is that dope song “God’s Meet” or “Angels Sing” that you premiered at the Stussy store event?

Aha, it is hidden in Exile’s vault, we are all awaiting the day it comes out !

I read in the XXL article “The Making of Blu & Exile’s Below The Heavens” that you and Exile made 75 songs. Will we ever get to hear these songs? Or have we already heard some of them?

No, those tunes were so immature, more than half are not meant to be released by any means. I was still molding myself in the booth then.

Some of them were actually on the “Lifted” EP and other B-sides.

In that same article, Aloe Blacc says he brought Exile to see you at one of your shows. He also said that he considered adding you to Emanon, but moved on to pursue his solo career as more of a singer. How do you think things would’ve been if you had joined Emanon?

Almost the same, except we would have made a crazy-ass Emanon record, lol.

Is there a third album in the works between you and Exile?

As of now, no.

How is it different from working with Bombay than working with Exile or Madlib?

Bey (Bombay) the Bass God is like a sweet tooth in a candy shop. I could have made 6 albums with all the goodies he has in the stash.

It was almost unfathomable running into some else on the planet with that much talent and that much work compiled over the years, other than the greats I know and work with already.

What should we be expecting from your Good To B Home album?

A classic. Maybe my best record to date.

All your albums have a different sound from the last one and the next one. Is this intentional or does the sound you want to hear change over time while making these albums?

No, it is completely intentional. I always strive to reinvent myself and I make sure that I am never redundant or mundane.

I am hoping to have one of the most diverse catalogs in rap music.

Who are your influences as a producer?

Exile, TaRaach and Mainframe. The three producers who produced my first three records.

They either encouraged me to produce, taught me how, or gave me shortcuts and tips to develop the craft you have heard from me today.

Handful of Dust just dropped today. You produced it and ANTHM provided the raps. What is your relationship with ANTHM and should we be expecting more than just an EP from you two?

As of now, this is just a taste as to who ANTHM is. He is similar to Sene in many ways, mainly because when I met both of these talents they had quite a few releases under their belt, but had small notoriety but a huge voice and skill.

So I think, the same way “A Day Late..” was a stepping stool for Sene to be welcomed by the “scene” is the same way ANTHM will be looked at after this record drops. I’m sure many more producers will be reaching out to this bro.

Who are your favorite rappers and producers right now?

I like what Prodigy and Nas did last year, The Black Hippy Crew of course, Joey Badass and Pro Era club, um, French Montana, anyone the Alchemist is working with and of course our camp over at Dirty Scienze.

You did the track “Alone” with L’Orange on his project The Mad Writer. How did you get on this project and how was it like working with him?

I work very closely with his label, Jakarta Records, and they reached out for me to be part of the L’Orange record. He sent the tune at a good time, I had a lot of poetry lying around and decided a piece I had fit perfectly over that particular sound piece.

I heard that you two are also working on another track together, is this true?

Yes, it’s titled, “Cafe Lover.”

Besides Good To B Home, is there also another album, currently untitled, coming out in the fall?

No. Just “Good To B Home” with Bombay.

Are you still trying to stop rapping at 30? And how is the movie venture going?

Only time will tell at this point. Many great opportunities have arose in the music industry that could possibly have me rapping for another 10 years. As far as films, we will see. its always been a tough industry to get into, and logically I’m at an intern level, so yes, time will tell.

Any final comments?

Love is Real.

Go check out all his music on iTunes, Amazon, at your local record store, where ever. Blu has something for everybody in his catalog of music. Stay up to date with him on Twitter: @herfavcolor.

“True art died in the heart of my mind. Kept trying to fulfill this. Blank-scribbled realness, even if it kills this poet inside.”