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.