After the release of ‘Below The Heavens’ in 2007, to a lot of listeners it seemed like Blu could do no wrong. The general consensus was that the young Los Angeles-based artist is well on his way to becoming one of “the greats” – after being endorsed by listeners with half-a-brain between their ears.
However; over the past few projects, Blu’s level of focus began to show obvious fatigue as his output increased. This is one major problem with being as talented of an artist as Blu is; everyone wants a piece and no matter how good the last piece is, people always want more; and they want it now.
Listeners seem to forget that Blu is still in his twenties, and already has a catalog that seems to grow by the day mixed with a roster of collaborations with acts from all over the world. His production schedule must be overwhelming on its own, add the stress of traveling and performing to a crowd that never stops wanting more to that, and you can begin to see how setting the bar to new heights becomes a difficult prospect on every release.
Music: Blu – SLNGBNGrs (NoYork!)
Maybe that’s why his latest effort ‘NoYork‘ has 17 tracks. A hard-working artist trying to supply demanding listeners with a whole variety of Blu “flavors” that unintentionally seemed to have blanketed the five or six actual good tracks to the point of invisibility to most critics. Whatever the case, instead of getting down on Blu (like everyone seems to be doing) and acting like all hope is lost on a guy who just four years ago released his first semi-big breakthrough… take a step back and re-evaluate the situation.
Blu has already achieved a timeless quality in both sound and lyricism, and now he is stretching his wings by testing his musical range and ability. Without a doubt, his artistic compass is questionable and his work load is crushing the quality standard he had established so early in this young career. But please, let the guy get his bearings before you go skipping any concerts. Because the fact remains, Blu has reached that level of greatness so few obtain; but it’s hard to focus on forging a masterpiece when you’re trying to pay your bills and carve out a place for yourself in an ever-changing industry based on all the wrong principles.
So, whether it’s growing pains or too many ‘yes men’ in the studio stopping him from getting there, one thing is for sure: Blu has all the ingredients for greatness. But what is unclear is whether he will use them all on a huge mediocre catalog, or concentrate his next effort on creating that special blend of genius our playlists truly hunger for?
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