Ten years ago, Blu & Exile released ‘Below The Heavens‘, a contemplative, confident, & wistful masterpiece beloved by critics and embraced by the West Coast underground as an instant classic. On October 20th, Blu & Exile will release ‘In The Beginning: Before The Heavens‘, a follow-up & companion piece to the classic record, via Dirty Science/Fat Beats. Comprised of unreleased tracks from the original ‘Below The Heavens‘ sessions, ‘In The Beginning: Before The Heavens‘ features appearances from Aloe Blacc, Co$$, Donel Smokes, Blame One, & more. Today, Blu & Exile are gearing fans up for the release with new single “Back To Basic’s“.
Blu tells XXL, who premiered the track:
“‘Back To Basic’s’ was a dedication to my homie Basic. I would go to his crib in high school to freestyle and beg him to bring me to the Wake Up Show, cause he worked there. He never did, haha. But I would always go back to Basic’s.”
With his fluid, incisive rhyming style & his intellectual lyrics, L.A. rapper Blu found his ideal aesthetic match in the soulful beats of crate-digging producer/DJ Exile. Released in Summer 2007, ‘Below The Heavens‘ received rave reviews from tastemakers and appeared on many year-end best-of lists. The momentum from ‘Below The Heavens‘ led to Blu’s signing to Warner Bros. Records, and propelled the young rapper onto the 2009 XXL Freshman List alongside B.o.B, Kid Cudi, & Wale. In 2012, Blu & Exile reunited for ‘Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them‘, expanding the palette of ‘Below The Heavens‘ and showcasing Blu’s multi-syllabic dexterity.
Exile says of ‘In The Beginning: Before The Heavens‘:
“We planted the seeds of creativity and grew about 40 plants. We picked the ones that we thought were the best for an album, but that didn’t mean that the other flowers weren’t beautiful. I’m super happy to re-release [In The Beginning] to people and have it actually get some attention that it definitely deserves. It’s amazing.”