Written Before Listen
Blu is a California rapper who’s been at it for nearly 15 years at this point. I knew Blu as a very unique lyricist with a very abstract rhyme scheme and flow. I was never too infatuated with his music. I always thought his production choice was only ok and his flow never stood out. I always respected him as a lyricist and storyteller but for my enjoyment, I was never too keen on his stuff. With that being said, I did like some of his songs from the Miles album that came out last year, but here he is again with The Color Blu(e). Without further ado, let’s get into it.
As Blu goes, a lot of his production choices tend towards the Boom Bap side of hip hop. MPC chops, drum breaks, live drums, and swingy rhythms. Alongside this, there are a lot of jazz samples and soul samples, That’s mainly due to having Exile on production. This album has half Exile and half producers that sound like him. Overall, that was kind of something that brought down Blu’s albums for me. I respect Exile as a producer, I think his chops and especially some of his beats are fantastic, but he does rely heavily on the book of Boom Bap.
Although, what they do sample on here is some genius stuff. On “Because The Sky Is Blu(e)”, we get a clever Beatles sample from the song “Because”. We also get a clever sample flip on “Mr. Blu(e) Sky” where they sample the song “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra. There are also other samples from jazz songs, r&b songs, and…you guessed it…BLU(E)S! On the two opening tracks, we get blu(e)s samples out of anything. Not just any blu(e)s either. Blu goes toward the nitty-gritty blu(e)s from the 40s and 50s. Overall, I might not LOVE the drum choice, but I do love the samples.
If you haven’t gotten the gist of it yet, this is a concept album. Every single song is centered around “Blue”, The color, the emotion, the music, and himself. This does create a consistent task and concept but it does limit Blu’s creativity. First of all, the idea of it is corny, but if anyone could do it, it would be Blu. Blu’s wordplay is just that good. It also comes off predictable by the 7th or 8th track. Blu(e) this, blu(e) that, the color blue blew me away, Miles David Kind Of Blu(e), Like WE GET IT! YOU LIKE THE COLOR BLU(E)! On the other hand, I have to give my kudos to the guy because once again, it’s really impressive.
Speaking Of the lyrics, Blu’s entire career is centered on them. Blu’s laid-back delivery and unique wordplay make it easy to focus on his lyrics too. Blu uses a very chain-like style in his verses as he connects wordplay for new opportunities. Blu’s rhyme schemes also stay strong in and out as his influences are more rhyme-oriented MCs such as Common and Talib Kweli. On this album, his lyrical strength does get a bit tiring because this album is centered for underground hip hop heads who think Melle Mel Is a top 10 rapper. Luckily, skilled lyrics are impressive and that’s certainly the case for this album.
Well, other than the lyrical miracle approach and the dry drum choice, I think that the album does get kind of tiresome. You know what to expect, you know what you’re gonna get and you know that it’s going to be based around the color blu(e). I also know that stylistic consistency is a good thing to have sometimes, but every beat is a Jazzy Boom Bap beat with skilled lyricism. Maybe a trap song, a melodic song, or even a feature from Navy Blu(e). Look, I liked the project. I liked clever production a lot, also the crafty wordplay, but the concept is a little too much
I guess that’s all I have to say. It’s a good conscious hip hop album, I might have centered more on the negativity of this album, but I liked this album a good amount. It will most likely appear in my top 50 or my honorable mentions and I think the entire premise of the album is unique. It’s a good album with some overdone strengths.