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Album Review

by Blu

Nature Sounds

Review Date
29th April
Reviewed by
Paul Gallagher

Hip hop isn't exactly something I've ever been too confident to write about, but occasionally a release comes along that refuses to be ignored. Blu is widely acclaimed as being a beacon of rising talent in American hip hop circles, particularly following the collaborative release Below the Heavens (Sound in Color, 2007) alongside producer Exile which made major waves - with appearances by luminaries such as Aloe Blacc, and containing samples sourced from far and wide including the likes of Roberta Flack, Joni Mitchell and, of all things, Grover from Sesame Street.

And despite a number of collaborations and associated releases since then where he's rubbed shoulders with the likes of Lupe Fiasco, The Roots and Talib Kwali, Blu's first real solo album is yet to even appear - with NoYork! due out later this year on Sire Records. But as a taster, the Amnesia EP works to again illustrate his obvious talent in what could be a big year for the Los Angeles born rapper.

The title track's a swoon-swamped sampling number that adorns his lyrics with a bed fittingly slept in by Billie Holiday's 'Am I Blue?' What follows is a number of different versions of the same track, including the stellar 'Amnesia (Remind)' which clocks in at less than two minutes in a further reminder that more is on its way. 'Since' follows, using a soul sample that I unfortunately can't place, but it's another track that pays testament to the man's abilities. 'Good morning' rounds off the EP, an outro leaning heavily on a simple beat and another sample taken this time from a divergent version of Holiday's 'Good Morning Heartache'.

This is by no means a huge effort from an increasingly talented hip hop figure, but it's an encouraging sign of what's to come from Blu - in an era that's still perniciously populated by gem-dripped homies singing about banging hoes and shooting people 'blap! blap!' in the face, it's great to hear there's someone grounded enough to learn and experiment with his craft.

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