Blu & Exile

Blu & Exile
When much-revered left coast rap fixture Blu snuck out a rough edit of the then entitled Give Me Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them late last year, ravenous fans anxiously pining for the return of the Blu & Exile partnership offered a mixed, though roundly enthusiastic response. While the unmixed nature of the release left many a little underwhelmed, the fact that a record Blu today admits was actually recording back in 2009 and never meant to amount to anything was shown so much love is what pushed the duo to clean it up and give it the proper release fans deserve. The new version sounds exquisite in comparison, made so much more colourful with the addition of live and re-recorded instrumentation throughout, along with re-chopped samples, new backing vocals and a handful of choice cuts absent from the set's original tracklisting. Whether or not Give Me My Flowers lives up to expectations as a proper sequel may be of some debate, but this album in its finished state definitely impresses.

What was the thought process going in when you guy first reunited to create this album?
We created the music just for ourselves. We had just come off two years of touring and we finally got back to sit down and we weren't ready to just work yet because Exile had, like, three projects and I had just done C.R.A.C., Johnson and Jonson, Her Favorite Colo(U)r...

This record goes all the way back to that?
Yeah, this record was created in a week in '09! Exile gave me 50 beats and I sat down and did 25 to 30 songs in a week with a bunch of raps I had on some shit I was feeling. Some songs were electronic, some were off-the-wall, very happy-sounding shit and some were serious. I sent them to Ex and we were just, like, "what should we do with 'em?" I wasn't really trippin' because I had just put out three or four records and Ex felt the same way because he had records coming out, so it sat for two years. People were hitting us up and I was like, "let's just give it out for free, just the rough mixes." But I dropped it and the response was just like, "Blu and Exile!" all over again. The label started hitting us up, so we got Fatbeats to reissue it.

What drove you to write "A-Man," which touches upon religious themes people generally stay away from in hip-hop?
Well, I have tons of philosophical questions for God and religion, society and politics that I write about from time to time. Exile had this beat saying, "sweet Jesus," like a gospel chop and I was like, "I got a verse for that!" I laid it and Ex wanted to put it out and I was like, "dude, do not put that song out, that's just some personal shit!" But Exile's a very deep hip-hop connoisseur who loves deep lyrics and loves to sit and listen. He's into novelty records, so that was a very dope record to him and he made it the single! But that's just the love there and I appreciate how much he loved it. He took it a step beyond what I did. I love songs like "Money" or "Good Morning Neighbor," waking up with a morning bone and shit, but Exile's talking 'bout some other shit.