Blu & Exile: Below The Heavens

Art is life. You have heard this passé phrase uttered often in movies or scribbled in books. Hip-Hop has its own variation of the saying, “Keep it Real.”. Many rappers have said the phrase whenever interviewed about their music, but when you actually take a listen, it sounds like they are Sweet Sweetback, Tony Montana, and Robin Hood all wrapped within one MC. While you won’t hear the term while listening to Blu & Exile’s Below the Heavens (Sound In Color), the pair actually achieves the adage through their music. The album begins with “My World is…”, and it allows you to recognize DJ Exile’s powerful soul sample manipulation. Oh yeah, he also produced the blistering slap box at Jesus ode that was Mobb Deep’s “Pearly Gates.” Meanwhile, Blu makes sure to make the most of this introduction as well, as he drops jewels such as “They still spell my name f*cked up on they fliers, it’s B-L-U/And if you see the E, drop ‘em/It’s how you droppin’ E from the beats E is droppin’.” This intro kicks starts the album, and it does not let up.Throughout the album, Blu displays a magnetic power with the mic, especially in songs such as “In Remembrance”. Exile’s production sets a reflective mood, and Blu’s endearing bars have a way of making anyone reflect on their own past. “Dancing in the Rain” with its somber production meshes with Blu’s reflective lyrics and gives you a taste of what his journey was; painting a wonderful visual picture that will have you sitting next to him at the bus stop. When you consider this is their debut project, Blu’s presence on the mic as well as Exile’s crafty production makes Below The Heavens that much more amazing. With a start like Below the Heavens, there shouldn’t be much surprise if they ended up amongst Hip-Hop’s Olympus eventually. Give this one a listen.