Blu
No York!


4.5
superb

Review

by Sobhi Youssef EMERITUS
June 10th, 2012 | 105 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Truly groundbreaking music

NoYork! straddles a delicate line between the outlandish and the truly experimental, pushing listeners to almost as far as they can go - "almost", because there never is a limit to what can be done with music. And Blu pushes hip-hop to its limit with his supposed proper major-label debut; before Warner had chance to release the record formally (label politics?), Blu distributed NoYork! for free via CD at Rock The Bells 2011 and the internet to little fanfare. Maybe the record challenged his fan base built up from debut Below the Heavens a bit too much. Exile's beats, although done very well, more strictly adhered to the tenets of the established hip-hop production cannon. Regardless of the reason, NoYork! has been criminally slept on, succeeding where artists like Shabazz Palaces tried much too hard in 2011.

2007 saw Blu's emergence on the scene as a lyrical force backed by production that focused in on his storytelling and alliterative skills. While he is an excellent rapper in terms of both flow and lyricism, the real reason NoYork! pushes boundaries is obviously the production. Somehow, Blu enlisted the services of several of loose LA collective/gathering the Low End Theory Club - including Samiyam, Flying Lotus, Sa-Ra, Madlib, and Dibia$e. Known for some of the most exemplary instrumental hip-hop recordings this side of the millennium, it's no suprise that NoYork! recalls any off-handed musing of what Cosmogramma or Sam Baker's Album would sound like if they were more vocally focused. The results aren't just these-albums-plus-vocals in nature; the finished product is so much more. Tracks like "A Bove Crenshaw" and "SLNGBNGrs" really blur the line of traditional or even progressive hip-hop.

But Blu still manages to integrate Below the Heavens style compositions into the mix. Shafiq Husayn (part of the Sa-Ra Creative Partners) makes some of the smoothest, yet forward thinking beats of the decade for Jimetta Rose and Nia Andrews to croon over on "Spring Winter Summer Fall" and "My Sunshine" respectively; this is apposite windows-down summer music. Ultimately, albums like NoYork! are so far ahead of their time that they are just too inaccessible to current hip-hop fans. It's really too bad, because Blu is on to something here; this is definitely a record that will be remembered in years to come as something truly groundbreaking.



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user ratings (61)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Spare
June 9th 2012


5350 Comments


WHAAAAT

Archelaos
June 9th 2012


241 Comments


This guy is pretty high on 2012 releases.

I've only heard Below The Heavens (which is sadly unknown on this site) and thought it was really good, so I'll give this a shot.

Known for some of the most exemplary instrumental hip-hop recordings this side of the millennium, it's no suprise that NoYork! recalls any off-handed musing of what Cosmogramma or Sam Baker's Album would sound like if they were more vocally focused.


^This particular line sold me.

Xenophanes
Emeritus
June 9th 2012


10618 Comments


You've been all over these hype trains as of late

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 9th 2012


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

this is actually from 2011 unfortunately, just thought it needed a little press. it's criminal how slept on and underrated this is

Archelaos
June 9th 2012


241 Comments


Oops, my bad, I was being presumptuous. It's criminal how underrated Blu's stuff is overall.

Spare
June 9th 2012


5350 Comments


i had no fuckin idea this existed

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 9th 2012


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I did when it came out but ignored it because his other stuff since Below the Heavens was pretty uninspired. Wrong choice.

bloc
June 10th 2012


34992 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The album that came before this was okay. I have this on my PC so I'll probably check it out eventually.

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

Samizdat
June 10th 2012


301 Comments


is this better than the money store

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 10th 2012


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

YES

Havey
June 10th 2012


9753 Comments


but it is not better than Below The Heavens

Manic_
June 10th 2012


447 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

didnt care too much for this, seems like he was trying to be different instead of just being different and was too lazy to put in the work to acomplish either. He'll never top BTH.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 10th 2012


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I honestly didn't like BTH as much as most people. Solid, but nothing earth shattering. Would have been had it been released in 1999

Archelaos
June 10th 2012


241 Comments


I love that album as well, but there are songs on here just as gorgeous as anything off of BTH ("Spring Winter Summer Fall"). I'm really enjoying this album, thanks for spreading the word, kingsoby1!

Athom
Staff Reviewer
June 10th 2012


17224 Comments


Give Me My Flowers...>Below the Heavens>

it's actually not the beats on this record that bug me, it's blu's rapping. it's a lot more monotone than his usual stuff. the beats are interesting to say the least, but nothing about them grabbed me. then again I thought Shabazz Palaces was mostly hype and no substance too.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 10th 2012


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

i haven't listened to give me my flowers yet; from what i'm reading it's not my thing.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
June 10th 2012


17224 Comments


yeah I like really smooth hip hop. this whole noise and tech thing got played out quick to me. like i can appreciate the ideas and where they're taking it, but it's not something that i enjoy in the process.

taxidermist
June 10th 2012


7212 Comments


this is actually from 2011 unfortunately, just thought it needed a little press. it's criminal how slept on and underrated this is

Fucking THIS. I tried rec'ing it to some people, but I'm a nobody so whatever.

Digging: Whirr/Nothing - Split

DoubtGin
June 10th 2012


6752 Comments


wow

Steoandnoodles
June 10th 2012


2832 Comments


Need to find somewhere to listen to this.



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