Blu talks No York and New album with Exile Exclusive in-depth interview with Blu. Nick Huff Barili talked to Blu for over an hour and this is part 1 of that conversation. In this segment Blu gives Hard Knock TV insight into his new album and Major label debut, No York, which is going through its mixing stages right now and will be out this summer.

Blu states “It’s not a State, It’s a state of mind, No York state of mind, it a West Coast album with no references to New York” Blu says he has enough songs to make it a triple album and that he is experimenting with a new sound with more of an electric hip hop feel, in the vain of his Johnson and Jonson project.

Production for No York, includes Dibiase, Flying Lotus, Knxwledge, Sam I am, Exile, Madlib, Shafiq, Bilal, J*DaVeY and Sa-Ra. As far as MC collaborations on No York, Blu states that you can expect Edan, Donel Smokes, Double-O, Definite and Nola Darling.

Blu says that there is another album with him and Exile that is complete and is a very personal album but kills the rumors that it’s going to be called Below the Heavens 2. He also says that he has put producing on the side for a bit because he had a hunger to get back on the raps and pick up the pen again.

For people that say that Blu needs to put out more music he states that that he has put out seven records in the last 3 years: Below The Heavens Johnson&Jonson, ADayLate&ADollarShort, The GODlee Barnes, The Piece Talks, HerFavoriteColo(u)r, Open/O’Pen and BeSene. Stating that the people who were looking for it are the people that got it!

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Published in: on February 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Published in: on November 24, 2010 at 11:36 am  Leave a Comment  
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Top 10 Rappers of the 21st Century

As you may or may not know BET are doing a top 10 rappers of the 21st century list. Decided by a panel of “experts” (Tigger, Jermain Dupri, some girl from Vibe Magazine?…etc) expect the usual names like Lil Wayne, T.I., Drake, Rick Ross and Eminem to come up and the artist can’t have released a solo album prior to 1999.

So with that being said he is the realest list you will ever see regarding this matter, let’s get to it

10. Jean Grae

Jean Grae is hands down the best female lyricist on the planet that I know off and even that is selling her abit short. She can hold her own alongside her male counterparts and even outshine them on occasion. Her album Jeanius that she recorded with 9th Wonder is an underground classic and should be essential listening for any true hip hop fan I believe her new album is going to be called Cake or Death inspired by the stand up comedian Eddie Izzard.

9. Phonte

Phonte was apart of the group little brother alongside North Carolina natives 9th Wonder and Big Pooh. They released three studio albums along with a handful of mixtapes and guest appearances but never really seemed to get the respect they deserved. Problems within the group cause them to split up this year and even though Phonte is yet to release and solo album as such (his Foreign Exchange album could be considered a solo effort but the album is a collaboration between him and producer Nicolay) his verses as so poignant and well crafted that he has to make this list based off that alone.

8. Blu

Blu is the best rapper I have heard in along time his wordplay and cadences are extremely creative and his laid back vibe makes him essential listening to hip hop pot heads across the globe.

He has a handful of different projects his best being his debut album album with producer Exile called Below the Heavens. Coming out of San Pedro, California Blu is different from the usual emcees that have been known to come from the West Coast. No talk of Khakis, Bloods and Crips here just insightful heartfelt bars that are delivered with the precision of a man wise beyond his years. Quite simply put, he is one of the few true artists left in the hip hop music business.

7. Lupe Fiasco

Complex rhyme schemes and structures, metaphors galore and delivered with a swagger to match Lupe burst onto the scene with one of the best debut albums of the last decade. Food and Liquor was like a breath of fresh air when it dropped on September 16th 2006 and was bootlegged like crazy. With only two studio albums to his name here you have an artist that is clearly intent on releasing quality over quantity and while I’m not his biggest fan I can appreciate what Lupe has done in his career and he is constantly evolving as an artist which in rap music is not easy to do just ask Common.

6. Beanie Sigel

This may seem like an odd selection being that Beanie has never really translated his street buzz into concrete record sales or even have a classic album under his belt. But I can’t honestly think of a rapper besides Jadakiss and Styles that have held the streets down so long with so many quality verses. Whether he’s a featured on another rapper’s track, spitting with his State Property group, trading bars with Freeway and Jay-Z or simply by himself Beans always delivers the goods and was by far the best artist Jay-Z ever signed to Roc-a-Fella.

His relantionship with Jay has since turned sour but we can’t forget how he held it down for Jay during the beef between Roc-a-Fella and Ruff Ryders. He went back and forth with Jadakiss and more than held his own but when you have been spitting in ciphers with Black Thought for years I guess that comes with the territory.

5. Sean Price

Sean Carter is nice but Sean Price is the best – Sean P (Figure Four)

Technically Sean Price has been in the game since 1996 when he and his partner in rhyme Rockness Monster dropped Nocturnal but he didn’t release a solo album until 2005. Monkey Barz came followed by Jesus Price Superstar and both albums were solid from front to back. Lyrically Sean Price is one of the best to ever to it clever wordplay, laugh out loud punchlines and a knack for picking beats has made Sean Price somewhat of an underground legend in the last few years. He is apart of the Boot Camp Clik, Heltah Skeltah and if that wasn’t enough has now joined forces with Black Milk and Gulity Simpson to form Random Axe whose album is eagerly anticipated but hardcore rap fanatics the world over.

4. Jadakiss and Styles P

I know this is abit of a cop out giving the slot to two rappers but I simply couldn’t rate one over the other. Jadakiss and Styles P part of the rap trio The Lox and now known simply as D Block have been recording music since as early as 1996 but their official debut dropped in 1998 and was certified platinum as was their second release We Are the Streets.

Jadakiss has three studio albums to his name not to mention countless guest appearances and miscellanous solo tracks. He has appeared on tracks from some of the greatest hip hop and rn’b artists ever The Notorious B.I.G, DMX, Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, Ghostface Killah, Big Pun, Mobb Deep, Mary J Blige, Mariah Carey and Usher to name a few. What a career this man has had about the only thing seperating Jadakiss from being one of the greatest ever next to 2Pac and Biggie is the quality of his solo albums. Despite tearing down every track he has ever been on his albums have always been somewhat dissapointing but his talent as a lyricist are unquestionable.

Styles P is about as diverse a lyricist as you can ask for whether he is rapping about personal issues like the death of his brother, rapping about the trappings of street life or jumping on tracks with the likes of Akon or Jennifer Lopez Styles always sounds fresh and has earned the tag as the hardest out.

His debut album A Gangster and a Gentlemen was a great effort but the two that followed weren’t. Although his second album “Time is Money” had it’s moments numerous delays and setbacks at Interscope caused the album to lose steam during the recording and releasing of the project. Ultimately when it arrived it seemed rushed despite the amount of time their was in between it being announced and being released his third album “Supa Gangster (Extraordinary Gentlemen)” suffered from lack of quality beats and subject matter that was better explored on his first project.

During their ups and downs in the industry Jada and Styles have remained a benchmark on which to judge New York rappers. Perhaps that’s why still to this day their has not been an artist to come out of NY that has lyrically surpassed these two they simply set the standards too high. When you talk of great rappers from the East Coast their names belong up there with Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, B.I.G, Nas and Jay-Z which is no small feet.

3. Andre 3000

As one half of Outkast Andre 3000 has been in the game since 94 but qualifies for this list as his solo album (sold as a double disc along with Big Boi’s album) dropped in 2003. The album only had one rap track on it (featured above) but still that’s goes to show how incredible Andre 3k is and when he does appear for the odd rap feature these days he completely steals the track and his verses are always worthy of instant replay treatment.

2. Eminem

Eminem is the clear favourite when you start to think of the best rappers over the last ten years and he just misses out on the top slot only because of his extensive break from recording and the quality of his recent work when compared to what came before.

The Slim Shady LP came out in 1999 and since then Eminem has besides 50 Cent, Dr.Dre and Jay-Z ruled the rap game with an iron fist. “The Marshall Mathers LP” was probably his best solo album and “The Eminem Show” has some great stuff on it aswell however “Encore” and “Relapse” were lackluster but he has since returned to form somewhat with his latest offering “Recovery”

There’s not much else you can say about Em that hasn’t been said before one of the best lyricists in rap with an ability to transfer that over to a succesfull stint as an artist Eminem came saw and conquered and he may still have some more in him yet.


So here it is numero uno I couldn’t give it to anyone else but the metal faced super villian, MF DOOM.

DOOM (all capitals no trick spelling) released his fist solo effort Operation Doomsday in 1999 and has since become a underground phenomenon of the likes we will probably never see ever again. While adorning a metal mask Daniel Dumile has created the greatest character in the history of hip hop and has more alias than Method Man. He has albums under the names Viktor Vaughn(2003), King Geedorah (2003), Madvilian (2004)  and DangerDoom (2005) not to mention three albums under the name MF DOOM with his recent one “Born Like This2 entering number 52 in the billboard charts which in today’s current climtate and with him being a underground artist is staggering as if his body of work.