Flashback to 2007 in Southern California: Exile, a highly-respected underground producer, and Blu, a hype man for a few acts that included Exile’s group, Emanon, decided to collaborate for a studio album that would end up captivating hip-hop fans like they could have never imagined.
Blu and Exile’s “Below the Heavens,” would turn out to be a critically-acclaimed underground classic.
Exile, known for his melodic use of samples, produced the entire album to prove that two artists coming together to make a complete project will result in the creation of the best music possible.
Fast forward to late 2011; fans get word of a Dec. 16 release of a new Blu and Exile project, just to find out it was getting pushed back due to dissatisfaction with the audio quality on the album.
Now five years removed from “Below the Heavens,” September 2012 marked the month for the highly-anticipated re-release of the second project from Blu and Exile, “Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them.”
With dozens of metaphors of things that go together running through my head, I’ll save you the peanut butter and jelly and just say, Blu’s smooth demeanor and effortless lyricism is tailored for Exile’s soulful arrangements of scratches and samples.
Blu grew up with a father who introduced him to “gangsta” rap and a stepfather who was a pastor. Similar to his perspective on “Below the Heavens,” on “Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them,” Blu continues to question the listener about what they believe in and if they believe what they think they believe in.
Blu has faith, but Blu is not afraid to question his faith and relates that with his fans that have had doubts in their lives. He does it in a way that helps you understand yourself and your beliefs better by making you think about them, not telling you what to think about them.
Blu challenges his own actions and beliefs in life with the line, “But my God said choose/I choose you, who do you choose? /I hope it ain’t me, cause I’m just an emcee.”
A lot of people will try to compare the two albums but I believe that to be foolish. “Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them,” is an instant classic like, and a perfect continuation to its predecessor “Below the Heavens.”