The production is so well executed with its introspective charm of soulful samples and jazz tints that the album would be just as good if it was an instrumental one.”
Blu and Exile’s “Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them” is the type of album that even if you listen to it on a rainy day and look outside your window, you won’t get that depressed feeling that gloomy weather sometimes induces. Instead, you’ll experience the nostalgia one gets when you reminisce on beautiful memories past, because this album has the kind of sound that can touch your soul.
Blu and Exile are a rapper-producer-duo that came out with “Below the Heavens” a couple of years ago, causing quite the stir on the internet back when MySpace was still relevant. Blu was a mix of Kendrick, J. Cole and Lupe Fiasco all in one, before we even knew who the former were, but he didn’t blow up the way that was expected due to his erratic tendencies of releasing music in its unmixed and un-mastered form.
His boring and seemingly uninteresting live sets didn’t help either so when it was announced that Blu and Exile would re-unite the excitement could not be contained. The unmixed version of “G.M.M.F.W.I.C.S.S.T” was quietly released last year, much to the dismay and criticism of fans. And so it was released again this month in a mixed and mastered format – resulting in a heart-warming soul-stirring gem of an album.
The album opens up with “The Letter” where Exile manages to genius-produce a beat that sounds as if it is spinning on a 90′s vinyl recorder, sort of like something you’d hear old school yet ahead-of-their-time blues artists croon on. The production on this album is solely from Exile and is so emotive that every beat makes you feel like you’re in a different time and place. For instance, “Ease Your Mind” has a kaleidoscopic ambience to it that makes you feel as if you’re on a Fijian island enjoying the gift of life, whereas with “Growing Pains” the beat is harder and wilder; a track you imagine bumping when cruising through town. The production is so well executed with its introspective charm of soulful samples and jazz tints that the album would be just as good if it was an instrumental one.
Blu on his own is a very sophisticated rapper whose lyrical dexterity only few can match, but paired with Exile he is a force to be reckoned with. He manages to stay precise and concise, yet still fire-off clever and contemplative lines at rapid speed. Blu sounds like he is slicing and dicing rhymes in torrents and waves yet still manages to stay self-aware and rap about sapient subject matter such as on “The Only One”, where he talks about his past life and still manages to intertwine that with his present life. On “Maybe One Day” he expresses his scorn for the garish flashing of riches yet still yearns for those riches himself.
At times Blu can sound a bit overwhelmed by Exile’s complex production such as on “I am Jean”. On “More Out Of Life” he is meant to sound aggressive but comes across as jaded due to Exile’s refined beat. Also, the tempo of the album never varies giving it a monotonous tone that makes the album seem like it’s a 54-minute psychedelic drone.
Nonetheless, this is a fine offering from two exceptionally talented artists who when they team-up to produce music, their sounds is like it’s straight from the heavens; as it takes you on a journey that you won’t forget.
Written by: Nomusa Mthethwa (@NomusaMT)