Review Summary: Full of experiments, but when it's good, it's really, really good.
BLU - York
Blu should be one of the bigger names in the rap game. This album had the potential to be a College Dropout
-type refresher for hip-hop, an introduction to the underground scene in L.A. Instead, the album goes by with barely a peep, and a few votes on Sputnik to spare.
It's a damn shame.
Some background: York
is a re-designed 2011 mixtape called NoYork!
, which Blu handed out to fans while performing at a festival. After a deal fell through with Warner Bros. to release the album, two years went by before Nature Sounds finally released it. York
is a tad shorter than NoYork!
, but otherwise, no major differences.
is good, it is absolutely wonderful. Blu pulls a lot of experiments on this one; no one is going to mistake any tracks on here for any tracks on debut album Below the Heavens
. The production is almost flawless on SLNGBNGRs
, with video-gamey synths swishing from speaker to speaker until going into full-on overload mode for the last third of the song. Jimetta Rose sings a killer hook on Spring Winter Summer Fall
, and Nia Andrews has an equally impressive feature on my pick for favorite track of 2013, My Sunshine
. Blu also shows off his lyrical chops on Keep Pushinn
: "Kissed the interviewer's hand, we weren't properly introduced / They danced through topics while skimming the truth / Skinny dipping in each other's optical visions nude", amidst a beautifully crafted piano loop.
All highlights aside, though, here and there Blu's experiments dip into mediocrity. On the otherwise so-so track Annie Hall
, Tiombe Lockhart sounds like a bad Paris Hilton impersonator walked into the booth and started going at it. Blu more or less talks through Hours
, and pulls easily the weakest hook of the album. Otherwise, the rest of the album fits with the overall lo-fi production, with 8-bit synths swirling all around.
Overall, Blu has crafted a fantastic gem, but a gem that has remained hidden since it's been released. One can only hope that a more popular release by him will shed this album some light.
Spring Winter Summer Fall