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Below the Heavens

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Customer Reviews

This is a Hip-Hop Classic!

Not having heard much about Blu & Exile before, i decided to pick this album up since im always on the lookout for quality hip-hop. Today it seems the underground is the only place to find quality hip-hop music anymore with the exception of few consistent mainstream artists like Nas, Pharoah, Common, The Roots, and Outkast who are always evolving and pushing the envelope. It is not a stretch to say this album is on par with some of the best records released by those aforementioned artists. As is the case with all classic hip-hop albums, “Below The Heavens” has it all: cerebral lyrics, imaginative wordplay, humor, relationship talk, storytelling, battle rhymes and brilliant production. This is the album a lot of people hoped Lupe Fiasco would make and although Food & Liquor was decent, “Below the Heavens” is superior is every way. Blu’s comparisons to Lupe Fiasco are fair since both artists represent hip-hop’s newest generation of talented, intelligent, positive, and thought provoking mc’s that the world doesn’t see enough of anymore. Released with little fanfare and hype, “Below the Heavens” is a sprawling 15 track classic full of hip-hop excellence in the form of that “straight out of the park” sound that is so rare to find nowadays. This is hip-hop the way its supposed to be done. With no MTV/BET nursery school rhymes to be found, Blu & Exile clearly poured their heart and soul into each track and have created the most complete and passionate hip-hop album of the year. Each track is engaging and honest whether Blu is commenting on: religion & God (and his rejection of??-- check Below The Heavens Part I w/ a sweet Nas homage), struggles as an underground mc (The Narrow Path), life’s challenges (Dancing in the Rain), his fiery contempt for commercial rappers and the state of hip-hop (Soul Rising), being a father (Good Life) or his candid brainstorm on how to go about winning a girl’s affection (First Things First). The entire vibe of this album is positive and the subject matter varied. I know its saying a lot but had a hard time comparing this to any recent releases so I had to think back to Nas's “Illmatic” or Common's "One Day It'll All Make Sense," both of which are all-time classics. “Below…” has a decidedly old-school feel that is owed to its soul samples and Blu’s obvious stylistic influences Pete Rock & CL Smooth & Nas among others. A Los Angeles mc, Blu’s flow could easily be confused with a kid staring out of his very own queens-bridge project window. And although he wears his influences on his sleeve, this is not a bad thing as the sound created here is his own and stays remarkably fresh and relevant due to the talented mc's evolved flow, wordplay, and lyrics (you WILL wear out the rewind button on your ipod to catch many of the punchlines). Exile’s production is equally impressive, effortlessly matching Blu’s flow throughout with varied, earthy, & soulful soundscapes that never sound redundant. Some production highlights include: Dancing In The Rain, Greater Love, Good Life, Soul Rising, & Below The Heavens Part I. “Below The Heavens” is an excellent album and should not be missed if you love hip-hop, particularly “hip-hip you can feel.” It is a consistently focused, creative, and well executed and it also works as hip-hop commentary since its themes are an unabashed rejection of the materialism and violence that has over-saturated rap in recent years. This is a must have!

Best indy hip hop album of 07?

plz let me know...cause it's definitely a contender for me.

Narrow Path...

How do I start.... This.Is.A.Classic! Bridgetown what?!? With all the Rap that has put HipHop on its death bed, this is one of the few lights at the end of the tunnel. The content, delivery, beats (and even the guest artists) make this a thorough and complete first showing! Songs like "ColdHearted", "NarrowPath" and "SoulRising" take me back to the days of PeteRock&CL, Gangstarr, and the quailty of rap found in the early nineties. A must have for any true fan of good HipHop music. -B


Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

The underground Los Angeles-based duo of MC Blu (b. Johnson Barnes) and DJ/producer Exile (b. Aleksander Manfredi) earned widespread acclaim right out of the gate with their debut album, Below the Heavens (2007), which critics crowned as the seemingly perfect marriage of Blu's everyday-struggle raps and Exile's Pete Rock- and J Dilla-inspired production. Blu, struggling to make ends meet at the time, first crossed paths with Exile in the early to mid-2000s, while the rapper earned gigs as a hype...
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Below the Heavens, Blu & Exile
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