Thirteen years ago to the day, Blu & Exile broke down the doors of the underground with the release of their classic Below the Heavens album. Not only was it one of the best albums I had heard in years, it was also released at a very crucial time in my life. At this point, I was working at HipHopDX and this would be the last album review I wrote for them before Mek and I broke off and launched 2DopeBoyz in October of the same year.
Five years later, after numerous solo and collaborative projects (like Blu’s Johnson&Jonson album with Mainframe and Exile’s Radio), they resurfaced with album two: Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them.
Now, after another eight long years, the emcee/producer duo are officially back in action with their third album, Miles: From An Interlude Called Life.
“It’s all about coming full circle,” Blu told Complex. “We’re bringing it back to some of our traditional sounds and the grassroots that we come with. We’re bringing it back to basics, and we decided to go and pull from some of the people who helped pioneer our sounds.”
“When I was trying to sell Blu on what type of album we should make, I felt like we had a responsibility to follow in the footsteps of the greats before us to make sure that we follow our tradition of sound and update it sonically, but also lyrically, with where we’re at now,” Exile added. “I don’t know if pressure was the right word, rather than finding the comfortability of our chemistry again. Once we found that, and it felt right, it just naturally happened for us to be able to, basically, pick up from where we left off at our best chemistry.”
Making up for lost time, Blu & Exile’s latest release is a double album with 20 tracks–including “Miles Davis,” “Roots of Blue,” and “The Feeling“–that includes features from Blu’s childhood friend-turnt-megastar Miguel, Exile’s childhood friend Aloe Blacc, the homies Fashawn, CashUs King, and C.S. Armstrong, Choosey, Iman Omari, The Last Artful, Dodger, Jimetta Rose, Aceyalone, ADAD, Dag Savage, and a few others.
Press play below and be sure to add Blu & Exile’s Miles: From An Interlude Called Life album wherever you consume music.