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Mixtape Review: Blazé’s “Room & Board”

Rating: 7/10

Portland, Oregon isn’t exactly a city thought of when it comes to Hip-Hop, but newcomer Blazé (pronounced “blah-zay”) is doing his part to put his city on the map. The Portland native recently caught our attention after his debut mixtape, Room & Board, earned “Hot This Week” status shortly after its release on DatPiff. A video freestyle with OMG (Ice Cube’s son), has also helped this 19-year old up-and-comer gain steam, as it recently passed the 50,000 view mark on YouTube.

As a college student, Blazé puts forth a project heavily influenced by life in college, reminiscent to the theme of J. Cole’s The Come Up. Blazé uses the college theme to his advantage, rapping on topics that range from pursuing his dreams to pursuing his degree, with a dose of girls and partying, and his kick-game in between. Blazé’s versatile style gives him the ability to speak on these topics throughout all of the tape’s 16 tracks.

Bangers like “Over Here”, featuring OMG, find Blazé delivering punchlines over a bass-heavy track on his time spent driving around in L.A., “That sh*t sweep all through LA/ I’m feeling just like a Maverick.” On another banger, “Kat Stacks,” Blazé speeds up his flow and takes time to elaborate on his marijuana habits: “Riding around on two O’s/ like I’m Lance Armstrong.” Blazé invites fellow Portland artists Jové and Cassow to join him and gives the ladies an invitation, “Come converse with a star/ I’m on my Chuck Taylor sh*t.”

On “Unfinished Business,” Blazé continues to speak to the ladies, but does so in a much more intimate way, aided by Jové on the chorus singing, “We done put in too much work to leave it unfinished, unfinished business.” Blazé lets the ladies know how he handles his business in the bedroom on this steamy track. On the piano-filled “Milana’s Interlude,” Blazé takes things to a more personal level on this standout track by speaking to one special girl in particular about his feelings, “All them girls who be calling, blowing up my line/ You the only one that look like you/ ‘gon get some of my time.”

Blazé’s charismatic flow shines through on “Get By” as he addresses haters, “N*ggas didn’t see me coming / Now they on their plan b sh*t,” as well as school, “With this school sh*t, trust me I’m strugglin’ just to get by / scoping in all my classes for sexy b*tches to sit by.” His charisma continues to show on “Dead Presidents,” as Blazé uses clever wordplay involving a Detroit Lions defensive lineman, who also attended the same high school as him, “These other rappers, they be lyin’ like Ndamukong Suh.”

When it’s all said and done, it’s clear that Blazé has the talent and potential to breakout in the music industry. Room & Board is an impressive debut tape from the young MC that will continue to build momentum and keep him headed in the right direction.

You can download Room & Board here and follow @ThatKidBlaze on Twitter

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