What can I say? Another day, another legendary act here on WCS. Today we bring you L.A. underground favorites Blu & Exile. If you haven’t listened to their classic albums, Below The Heavens, and, In The Beginning: Before The Heavens, you need to load them up in your digital streaming platforms. In this new HipHop50 interview, the duo link up with our own Todd “DG” Davis to answer the series’ hip-hop questions. Read below!
First things first, this year (August 11th)
marked the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop
— What exactly does that mean to and for you?
BLU: I am completely biased about the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop because I feel accepted, as if I am one with Hip Hop. The 65th Grammys had a 50th Hip Hop tribute,
and my name was placed on a list full of other great Hip Hop artists as the background on the stage behind Hip Hop’s greatest performing.
So, I feel like a part of me turned 50 really; it’s huge, monumental. I am extremely honored.
To quote the late, great The Notorious B.I.G., “You never thought that Hip Hop would take it this far!” — Was this something that you ever could’ve imagined?
BLU: No, unfortunately I looked at the culture of Hip Hop from a millennial angle. I was trying to get in the game and get mine before the doors closed, I was already late. That was in 1998. I still can’t see how far Hip Hop will go now. The core, which is the music, is changing and melding other genres so much
that I have no idea what the culture will sound like, stand for or be, 20 years from now. Let alone 50.
What are some of your fondest, most stand-out moments /
memories from your lengthy tenure in this thing called Hip Hop?
BLU: I am constantly and always have been most amazed at all the love I get from Hip Hop.
The support system and belief system in Hip Hop is uncanny. My fondest memories are either working or being acknowledged by my role models in the game. Free-styling on stage with KRS, with Busy Bee doing adlibs, and Grandmaster Caz spinning, all before I dropped my first album, stands out brighter than everything. KRS is my favorite MC of all time! We made a song right before he brought me to a Wild Style party and we ripped the stage. Also, I hold the moment Dilla gave me respect, and said he was down to produce on my debut album, higher than most memories as well. Dilla is my favorite producer of all time. Turn it up!
EXILE: I’ve been imagining my part in Hip Hop in my mind since I was 11. Once I fell in love with Hip Hop, I knew I would do whatever it took to create it. I used to practice, scratching in my room at age 15, imagining in my head that I was at a Boogie Down Production’s concert, and KRS-One said to the audience that his DJ couldn’t make it and if there is anyone in the audience that could DJ for him. In my mind / in my room, I said “yes, KRS ONE, I can DJ for you!“ KRS said, “well, come up here on stage, kid, let me see what you can do,” and I started scratching, as if I went on stage to prove to KRS-One I was nice on the cuts, when I was really just in my room, scratching fantasizing I was dj’ing for him. Fast forward like 12 years later, me and Blu were really in a room with KRS-One! I made a song with him, and later he invited us to one of his shows. Turned out his DJ was actually nowhere to be found!! And, I was actually asked to DJ for KRS-One!!! I went on stage and started to prepare, when his DJ finally arrived…well I almost got to fulfill this childhood fantasy, but I stayed on stage, watched the whole show, and KRS one shouted me out over his classic “I’m Still Number One!”
That said, what are your future plans and /
or goals throughout the remainder of 2023, going right into ‘24?
BLU: Fortunately, more music. I just released an EP with Real Bad Man called Bad News in August, and I plan on releasing another special project before the year ends!
EXILE: Prepare the release of the next Blu & Exile album, my next instrumental album Exile Radio 2, another album with Fashawn and much more. I’m putting myself in a position to release more material, to help bring balance to this culture that desperately needs, balance.
Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?
BLU: Love, excitement, knowledge, wisdom, confidence, motivation, and empathy.
Those are things I get from my favorite Hip Hop songs.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?
BLU: Oooh, that’s a tough one. I would definitely love more respect, support and music
for and from our pioneers, our OG’s.
They still hear, they still got skill, and still have a lot to say, teach and pass down.
They need and we need that platform available. I love that we are broadening our foundation, ultimately becoming more successful, but it’s about time this “lottery pick” record label love gets more spread out
to more deserving contributors to the culture.
What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?
BLU: Skill, relativity and diversity, will push you further than everything else.
Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations,
maybe even completely away from entertainment?
BLU: No, all my dreams are entertainment related.
Music, film, books and art forever!
What’s an average day like for you?
BLU: I have two different types of days every week.
Either dad day when I am with my son,
or rapper day when I am working my ass off.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
BLU: Twitter, all day! lol.
What is your favorite part about this line of work?
Your least favorite? And, why?
BLU: My favorite part about being a rapper is making the music to make a living.
It is so cool, free, fresh and exciting. I love it!
My least favorite is making the music to make a living, I wish I can make the art without bills, rent, food and clothing fees being a key motivating factor to be successful.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
BLU: Read and do the research to educate yourself and drop that knowledge. All I ever wanted to do was drop knowledge, not that I know there is no ledge to knowledge, and all you have to do is learn something new to have a gem to give someone through a rap lyric.
Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
BLU: Hopefully, owning a house and a car. That would be a definite game changer, accomplishment and trophy.
EXILE: With 11 new albums out, on an island drinking Piña Coladas, celebrating how me and Blu saved Hip Hop.
Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?
BLU: You didn’t ask what is my secret to being the greatest MC of all time!?
Any “parting” words for our readers?
BLU: Be God, peace.
EXILE: Clear your life up to find inspiration, to give thanks, and to connect with that thing you love, again and again.
#Blu #Exile #Underground #hiphop