BLU & EXILE: TRUE & LIVIN EP

June 4th, 2019 | Album reviews

BLU & EXILE
True and Livin’ EP
Dirty Science

Chemistry is probably the most underrated component of creating these days. Just because you find yourself around people who like the same things you do doesn’t mean an immediate translation to creating classics. But Blu & Exile have proven with their run together that they possess an entire periodic table of elements to meld. Their collaborations recall the Central Ave. jazz scene of Los Angeles, showcasing the character of their city through the creative extrapolations it encourages. With this EP, which draws on classic hip-hop twelve-inches of the late nineties with its three-song structure and instrumentals on the B-side—as well as an a capella, for those bedroom remixes! This is the kind of joint that would have been played on Friday Night Flavors twenty-two years ago, and the next morning yours truly would be flying down the 10 to get the wax at Fatbeats. (Vermont location!) This is the fare that you’ve come expect from Blu & Exile, too. Blu’s ripping the verses like his own personal rapture may happen at any moment; Exile’s flipping the requisite boom-bap with flourishes of plaintive horns or looped jazz guitar lines that suggest menace and calm at once. Of course the signature posse cut is here—“Power to the People,” with Choosey, Johaz, Cashus King, Aloe Blacc, Fashawn and Blame One—but instead of the typical ego-trippin’ showdown, it’s an updated protest song regarding current social ills. So rush to the local … well, find it where you can and listen like it’s urgent because it is.

—Nathan Martel