A decade ago, the Los Angeles underground rapper Blu felt like the future — an inheritor of his city’s wordy, introspective, melodically astute Freestyle Fellowship/Project Blowed history who still made sense when he was rapping hard on mixtape tracks. And Blu never stopped rapping, though guys like Kendrick Lamar may have stolen some of his shine. He hasn’t gotten much attention lately, but Blu is still rapping like a fool, and he’s about to release what promises to be a very good album.
On Friday, Blu and the Oxnard producer Oh No will release their collaborative album A Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night. Oh No — Madlib’s brother and the Alchemist’s partner in the duo Gangrene — is a great psych-rap beatmaker and a strong rapper in his own right, and this is a great combination. Blu and Oh No’s early single “The Lost Angels Anthem” is one of our favorite recent tracks, and now they’ve come out with a second song called “Pop Shots.”
“Pop Shots” is about the sudden scramble of activity when tension boils over and gunshots ring out. It’s got a nasty chopped-up guitar riff on the beat, and it’s also got Blu rapping with a purposeful intensity, finding different sharp corners of the beat to ride. It’s another sign that this album might be special. Listen to it below, via 2DopeBoyz:
A Long Red Hot Los Angeles Summer Night is out 3/1 on Nature Sounds.