Blu and Exile are one of the most prolific duos hip hop has ever seen. Since their classic 2007 debut “Below The Heavens”, the pair has been beloved by the music world. Today, the two have just released their first album in eight years titled “Miles“. This isn’t just feeding fans, it is stuffing them as it is an almost two-hour-long double lp! With a series of phenomenal singles, the only question left is if the double album can keep fans engaged for its extended running time.
Blu seems to be in a more philosophical mind state than ever. From the intro “Blue”, the Inglewood native hinges a series of bars revolving around the color Blue to show the hue’s special essence. Each track continues to display Blu’s talent as he tells stories embedded with meaningful lessons and morals. “When the Gods Meet” was a specific cut that stuck out to me as its culturally relevant tale on modern racism can be applied to a lot going on in the world currently. I have already praised the self-titled track “Miles Davis” and its following song “The Feeling,” so I won’t waste any more time admiring their beauty. We still see a more personal side of Blu on the tracks “Music is My Everything”, “Bright as the Stars”, and “Blue as I Can Be”. My favorite one in this phase is “You Aint Never Been Blue” as we see a way more hostile side of an mc who remains calm and collected most of the time. “Roots Of Blue” is the most conceptually deep track as it is 10 minutes of empowering black people worldwide. The next few songs further the same themes as Blu talks about various historical and societal issues that have happened to his African ancestors. Towards the end, the most potent cut is definitely “Dear Lord” as Blu fantasizes of the world being in unity and happiness. Ultimately, I’m just scratching the surface with this writeup as the cleverness and depth behind Blu’s words will take years to grasp.
Behind the boards, Exile furthers his case for being on the Mount Rushmore of producers. His sampling skills are near mastery at this point, which is exemplified on cuts like “To the Fall, But Not Forgotten”. When it comes to capturing that jazzy sound, songs like “When the Gods Meet” and “Troubled Water” are top of its class. “Requiem of Blue” was a standout as its lighthearted piano and woodwind instrument based beat is emotionally transcending. Despite all of its fantastic moments, “The Feeling” still resonates with me the most as it feels like something straight out of heaven. Each instrumental feels so organic and thought out, which is something remarkable. I can go on for hours about each song’s intricateness but, instead, ill let you be blown away on your own listen.
In conclusion, “Miles” is a strong candidate for album of the year. Blu has solidified himself as a top 10 lyricist of all time if you ask me, and Exile has done the same on the production side of things. The amount of depth and content inside of this project is mind-boggling. Whether its personal, philosophical, or anything in between, each word echoed from Blu’s mouth is priceless and charged with knowledge. With this being a double album, I’m surprised that it didn’t drag at any point. Blu and Exile may be the best rapper-producer of all time, and “Miles” is just another testimony to that!