Words by: Hallway Jay
illRoots: Who are Blu & Exile?
Blu: A black kid and a white guy who don’t know why they are so dope yet. Yet they act like they know so the execs keep cutting the checks.
Exile: Blu and Exile are two cats who wanted to share the gifts that they nurtured and manifested into an audible extension of ourselves and or love…
illRoots: Where is Hip-Hop in your eyes? and Where’s is it going at in say, the next 5 years?
Blu: Hip-Hop Is Broke & Lost, and in five years it will be Rich & Found, Again.
Exile: Mainstream hip-hop at the moment has one face. One face is easier to sell than many. People are lazy and settle for what’s thrown in there face. Most people will just eat McDonalds instead of searching for that perfect restaurant. Same for music these days, people settle for what the radio says is hot because its safe and easy. But this gives creative hip hoppers a chance to thrive, since the majority ain’t doin nuthin new……I see change but the peaceful revolution cant happen without unity, and more people are becoming aware of this.
illRoots: I am a huge fan of “Below the Heavens” what is it that you want a fan to get away from this album? And how was it making this album?
Blu: I want fans to feel like they are proud to be fans. I want them to feel like they don’t need to take our spots and try to be artists, because that means we aren’t doing our job. And it was fun making the album because we didn’t know about up-scale clubs and fly-ass women yet. So we didn’t make a dance record, We made a dope one.
Exile: I just hope this album will give the listener inspiration to express themselves through what ever form seems fit for them. I also want the listener to relate to Blu’s lyrics and feal the connection between what he is communicating and the music. We had a blast making this album. I think it may have taken a little longer than blu would have liked but I know we are both happy we took time with it.
illRoots: What steps did you take to get this album out?
Blu: Jon Kim.
Exile: Well me and Blu first started working on songs for my album Dirty Science, and then started to talk about us doin an album together. As I worked on my LP, me and Blu started to work also. The label who was puttin my shit out was intrested in a Blu record from the jump, so that was the natural home for it at the time.
illRoots: If you could go back and change one thing about the album, what would it be and why?
Blu: I would put “CashUsKing” on it.
Exile: I may have fucked with the mix a little more but other than that I wouldn’t change a thing.
illRoots: Who is your influence in the game right now?
Blu: Ta’ Raach & The J’s, J Dilla (Still), J. Davey & Jay Electronica. Besides them its all old Jazz & Soul.
Exile: Dilla, Jon Brian, Madlib…
illRoots: In life we all go through conflicts name one time in your life where you felt the lowest and how you overcame that obstacle to be where you are now?
Blu: I always get into shit And I pray and GOD gets me out and puts me where I should be.
Exile: I felt pretty low when I realized “Below the Heavens” and “Dirty Science” would not get the label push I had hoped for….. I got over it by not thinking in the past or future, but of the present and went online to 8th street latinas….[laughs]….Nah, I did try to stay in the present by making music, reading and travling…. you know living! That’s all you got to do is live….!
illRoots: Out of all the artists that you know personally who is the hardest person to work with in the studio?
illRoots: I’m from the East Coast myself but if I come out the Left Coast. Name 3 hidden gems out there that nobody knows about?
Blu: The Planet Asia EP, my boy Malcom’s freestyle video & old Jack Spade songs from Bridgetown.
Exile: JohAZ, Co$$ and Blame. Mc’s you should fuck with.
illRoots: What’s next for Blu & Exile?
Blu: I rap on Exile’s solo rap album and he raps on mine.
Exile: Blu has got another album done “Johnson & Johnson”, and he is now wrapping up his debut self produced album (with exile on the cuts and scratches), but as for me I got a solo rap album called “Four Track Mind” on the way, a instrumental LP on the way called “Radio” (all samples, drums, basslines etc. sampled from LA radio), and albums with Coss, Blame, Dagsavage. Production features with Prodigy [on] “HNIC 2”, Akon, Kardinall official, Nate Dogg, Pac division the list just goes. So stay tuned.
Johnson & Johnson – Bout It, Bout It
illRoots: Fill in the blank and elaborate on why? At the end of the day we are put here to ____________.
Blu: Multiply, Because God said.
Exile: Spread the love we learn to create. I think we are all here to contribute to positivity and love. When we do we feel are best. We all have our place to shine, it is are duty to find that place to shine in an unselfish way. In a way that will make another want to shine the same way. If you have not found this yet or if you have and you lost it, you can feel it and it doesnt feel good. Stay with it as long as you can, it’s better for you and everyone around you.
illRoots: Thanks to both of yall and especially to Jon Kim for helping me out through this entire process. Over at illRoots.com yall are always welcome, just wipe ya feet.