Even though one of the dopest artists doing it has been quiet as of late since the Freshmen cover. It doesn’t mean he hasn’t been working on new material. His major label debut — entitled NoYork — is looking at a first quarter release w/ production from the likes of Flying Lotus, Sam I Am, Shafiq, Exile, etc; and you can expect the dopehouse to drop a premiere or two soon enough. With that said, Blu sat down with Vibe to discuss the album, his GodLeeBarnes(LP), the possibility of an official mixtape and why he keeps such a low profile.
What inspired the NoYork! title?
It’s got two different meanings, but I would say it’s about a state of mind. It really stems from people always saying I had a New York or East Cost style flow. This being my first real solo record⎯it kind of brings all my different styles together on one album. NoYork! has this broad West Coast sound. There are some other reasons but it’s definitely because of the sound. It’s not a state, it’s a state of mind.
We can already see Internet cats saying you’re dissing New York with that title. Did you actually record any of the project in New York City?
I recorded a song with U-God out here. I spent some time recording Uptown and in Brooklyn. We had to make sure we were getting love from the city. I want to make sure everyone knows I’m not discriminating against New York. It’s a nod to this place if anything.
There have been some rumors of you being dropped from Warner Bros. Are you still with the label?
Nah, there’s been no problems. I haven’t had any problems with the label at all. They’ve been open to all our creative ideas. I just like to really take my time before I release anything. I want to make sure I’m completely satisfied with my music.
You have a true DIY approach to releasing new music. Why did you decide to drop the GodLee Barnes LP as one long un-mastered song?
I started to really enjoy releasing songs on MySpace. I did that for about a year, and then it went to releasing short projects. I dropped a couple instrumental projects and the Her Favorite Colour mixtape online. Then Twitter started popping. With the GodLee Barnes LP, I just felt the raw energy of it because that was the original way I recorded it. That old school cassette feel felt right. I may release an official version of that in the future.
Will you ever drop an official mixtape with a DJ?
We’re still wrapping mixing the record and getting our campaign together. There might be a mixtape coming. I’ve been talking to some real DJs about doing my first official mixtape. I definitely want to out my foot in that arena⎯show them how I would do it. You’ll definitely hear some random singles from me very soon.
You really seem to keep a low profile.
I definitely have this aura where I like to keep it low-key. I’ve always felt like an underground artist, and it was pretty easy to keep it that way in a sense because that’s where I was established and my comfort zone is. But with the Internet, I’m able to keep my presence without any major radio or TV play.
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