BLU: I Am Jean

Blu - "I Am Jean"
(Give Me The Flowers; 2011)

It's fitting that Blu's buzzer beating bid for album of the year was titled Give Me Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them. The latter half of his career certainly hasn't garnered much acclaim. Inheriting a fairly conservative fan base by way of releasing a vastly overrated debut will do that. Despite being entirely produced by longtime collaborator Exile, this project doesn't feel like a nostalgic effort to pander to critics and disgruntled fans. But the buoyant 'I Am Jean' encapsulates the half-everyman-half-amazing shtick that's been a mainstay in Blu's music since Below The Heavens. It's a song about "rap life" uniquely devoid of luxury, loneliness, sarcasm, and rule 4080. Obsessive hobby disorder is a universal male experience, as we've all neglected the ol' ball and chain to make headway in our insignificant passions (blogging, fantasy sports, side-chicks, etc). Jean sidesteps his woman's campaign of diversion because he truly enjoys making music. You can hear it in nearly every song he's ever recorded, regardless of quality.


  1. vastly overrated debut
    cut it out dog

    BTH was one crown jewels of 2000s

  2. I couldn't of said it any better myself. This song is gold simply put. Blu is renaissance man in every sense of the term.

  3. @November Just calling it how I see it man.

  4. @hl

    I respect your opinion, but why is BTH so vastly overrated to you?

    I think that the album rather underrated considering how much of an unknown John Barnes is outside the blog community.

    I think alot of Eastcoast headz who complain how Hip Hop isn't this or that would love that album If they knew about him.

  5. @November It's good. Not great. The beats decent, and there's some great displays of lyricism, but most of those songs don't connect with me the way GodLeeBarnes did. He dropped two projects in 2011 I thought were much stronger. When I hear BTH all I think is "wow, this guy can rap really well", but I don't feel it.

    When I say overrated, I'm referring to people like us that still keep up with underground rap (outside of Ross and Waka most of the music I dig is just as obscure as Blu). And a lot of those people think it's easily his best work. I just disagree.

  6. This album is stellar. Even among the blogs I think it got slept on. Blu has made a lot of music since BTH (which I consider his best) and all stannery aside he has released very little bad music. Arguably the worst release has been No York and that was experimental more than anything.

    What is crazy though is that Wale was on the same freshmans list wasn't he? Dude was similarly obscure and blew up. The line between blog and mainstream fame and blog obscurity is pretty marginal these days.

  7. @Victor I agree with you, except the line between blog and mainstream isn't marginal IMO. Wale, J Cole, Wiz Khalifa, etc were funded by major labels, had actual hit songs on the radio, and were cosigned by some of the biggest names in rap.

    Guys like Blu and Danny don't shoot at the same basket as those artists. Very few people I know outside the internet have ever heard of them.

  8. @hl I suppose you're right in that Blu had the major label deal and may as well have spat it back in their faces with No York lol