The Return of LA Hip Hop… Blu is in the Building

Whoever said Hip Hop was dead, obviously had not peeped Blu, a South Central LA native who defies any and all stereotypes we like to associate with cats from the hood and West Coast emcees.

For starters we have to take special note to the way the tall lanky emcee spells his name. There is no ‘E’ at the end and its a oversight that he often rhymes about. Second, Blu got hip to Hip Hop late in life. He is the stepson of a strict pastor who forbade him from listening to Hip Hop while he was growing up. His biological father is a member of the Bloods who listens to gangsta and Bay Area turf raps. To this day Blu’s dad calls him him ‘Flu’ instead of Blu. Thats how deep it gets.

According to Blu, he got turned onto groups like De La Soul only after hearing DMX. His musical upbringing and ultimate influences before being introduced to Hip Hop was centered around a diverse collection of artists ranging from Al Green to Thelonious Monk to Bob Dillon. It’s no mistake that the lead song off his ‘Below the Heavens‘ album is a remake of the Del’s classic ‘My World is…

Blu says he regrets missing the Golden era of LA Hip Hop which was personified by legendary spots like the Good Life and Hip Hop staples like Freestyle Fellowship, Jurassic 5, Project Blowed and the late Bigga B to name a few. However there’s no denying that his lyrical prowess and charismatic style kicks in where those legends left off.

Blu acknowledges that it was people like Charli2na of the J5 who sat him down and laced him up with lots of info and tales surrounding the scene of that bygone era. Much of what 2na told him was underscored by radio shows like The Wake Up Show and Friday Nite Flavas before it was unceramoniously taken off the air.

As Blu honed his emcee skills he cites Inspectah Deck of the Wu-Tang Clan, LA legend Cashus King and Planet Asia as being big influences. With respect to Deck, Blu says that he’s the illest emceee when it comes to kicking off a song. He cites the track Triumph as the one where Deck truly shines. Blu’s one regret with the new debut album ‘Below the Heavens‘ was not having Deck on. However when peeping songs like ‘Simply Amazing‘ you can clearly hear how he was inspired.

During our interview in which Blu walked us through a variety of songs including ‘Narrow Path‘, ‘Simply Amazing‘, ‘Show Me the Good Life‘ featuring singer Aloe Blacc of the Dirty Science Crew and ‘Bullet through Me‘ off an upcoming album called ‘Piece Talks‘, he admits that he has a lot to say and his feverishly working to put out 6 different projects which will allow him to get everything off his chest. He refuses to be limited by industry driven categories and limitations.

For example, in the song ‘Bullet Through Me‘ which is off the Piece Talks album produced by Ta’arach, Blu does an experimental cover of a Paul McCarthy song. He admits that upon first listens many will question where he is going and what he’s doing, but folks will learn to get passed any hesitations. His ultimate goal is to put fun back into Hip Hop and be creative. He also wants to help bring national attention back to LA and west coast Hip Hop. In 2008 where everyone is talking about Change, Blu’s attitude and outlook is right in step. This looks to be a big year for him.

by Davey D

You can peep the Blu interview on Breakdown FM by clicking the link below

Breakdown FM: Meet Hip Hop’s ‘Hitchcock’ Mykill Miers

Depending on where you sit within the diverse spectrum of Hip Hop music and culture, Mykill Miers is either someone you never heard of or a long time fixture in LA’s burgeoning underground scene who gave us classic albums like ‘It’s Been A Longtime Coming’. However, no matter where you sit, you most likely have heard his work.

When this longtime vet is not snatching off heads at rap battles or keeping young gang bangers in check at Juvenile Hall, he’s busy producing music for a long list of TV shows and commercials. Being Bobby Brown, America’s Top Model, America’s Top Chef,VH1, Old Navy, Sprite, Diet Pepsi and this upcoming season of The Apprentice are just a few of the many places where Miers has left his musical mark.

“It’s extremely important that, I as a Hip Hop artist have multiple streams of income”, he explained. He went on to emphasize the importance of artists remaining independent and owning their masters.

He noted that he’s able to license his material and do business all around the world and not have some major label taking a substantial cut while not seriously breaking him off or pushing him to the next level. “It’s all about the hustle”, he concluded.

He also added that its important for independent artists to ban together, share resources and create avenues that they control that will lead to increased exposure.

In our interview Miers offered up a lot of insight and oftentimes overlooked history about LA’s Underground scene. He spoke about central figures like the late Bigga B. He talked about how he came up and earned his stripes at the Good Life Café in South Central LA. This is the spot that gave birth to groups like Freestyle Fellowship and Jurassic 5. Miers likened those early days in the late 80s early 90s to the Apollo. He noted that cats were unforgiving if you came on the mic and did not bring the heat.

Battles were par for the course and Miers is more than tested. He’s one who is set to grab the mic and take a cat down anyplace, anywhere and at anytime. This was clear during our interview when we asked him to lay out the type of approach he would use if he had to battle fellow emcees and friends, Xzibit, Rakaa of Dilated Peoples, Snoop, Game and Jurassic 5.

Miers also spoke to us about the direction Hip Hop has taken with major corporations running the ship. He had some choice words for a number of rappers who he feels have sold their souls to be promoted by the corporate machine. He says he’s sees the type of negative impact much of today’s music has on the kids he works with everyday at Juvenile Hall. “They see artists like 50 Cent as a hero or even a brother. Everything these artists do these kids who are locked up wanna do”, Miers explained. He stressed the importance of providing balance and guidance.

He noted that him being an emcee has helped him to be relatable to the kids he works with. It allows him to have positive influence over more than a few. He also talked about how he avoided the lure of gangs in both his personal life and his music, while his brother engaged in it hardcore. He noted that being an athlete saved his life and that he wanted to commit himself to changing lives.

Miers is gearing up to release his new album ‘Trials of Job’ and is also working on doing a big concert inside Juve Hall which will hopefully include everyone from Xzibit on down to Jurassic 5.

Audio interview below with Mykill Miers and Davey D on Breakdown FM