BY JACOB "34" KOERTGE • AUG 22 2019
Johnson Barnes III, known by many as Blu, has been having a stellar 2019. The California MC kicked off the year by linking with producer, rapper, and Gangrene member Oh No for A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night. Then, just three months later, he went back to his roots to drop his second project of the year, joining his longtime partner Exile for their fifth studio release, True & Livin. The EP, led by the soulfully scratched boom-bap efforts of its title track, also featured Aloe Blacc, Fashawn, and Cashus King. Despite all this, Blu doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Without warning, Blu released Ground & Water. It finds the West Coast staple rapping over production from Damu The Fudgemunk. The Washington, D.C. based producer and Blu’s careers were both kicked off similarly with collaborative efforts released in 2007. Damu and his Y Society band-mate Insight’s, Travel At Your Own Pace, and Blu and Exile’s, Below The Heavens, both recently celebrated their 10 year anniversaries. Now, the two Hip-Hop standouts find themselves working together a dozen years after their careers began for yet another MC and producer co-op.
Blu & Exile Provide Hope Through True And Livin’ Hip-Hop (Video Premiere)
In a press release, Damu The Fudgemunk explains Blu’s efforts on the record, “Like all my releases, most of which are instrumental, I wanted the music to tell a story. With Blu being the voice, he set the tone for us both to bring this to life.” He continues, “When you listen to the lyrics and digest the subject matter, there’s a lot of depth in his words. I wanted to provide a similar depth in the music.”