Pardon The (Re)Introduction: Blu Talks 'NoYork!' LP & Joining Lupe Fiasco's Supergroup

While Hip-Hop remains hellbent on searching for leaders of the so-called “New West,” California native Johnson “Blu” Barnes prefers letting his rhymes—not his coordinates—define his presence in the game. After releasing the critically acclaimed LP Below The Heavens with producer Exile in ’07, Blu ducked the spotlight and continued to release music independently with beatsmiths Ta’Raach and Mainframe under the monikers C.R.A.C. Knuckles and Johnson & Johnson, respectively.

Utilizing the Internet, the 27-year-old MC—whose drawn comparisons to Nas and Common—spent the last few years leaking new music between official releases. With no one’s agenda to fulfill but his own, Blu is an enigma of sorts in Hip-Hop’s underground scene. Fans cannot get enough of him, and his absence from the media draws question to his dedication to his career. However, with nostalgic storytelling abilities and true-to-life subject matter, Blu has amassed a cult-like following. VIBE was granted a few minutes with the wordsmith to discuss his first official solo LP, his DIY approach to music, and involvement in Lupe Fiasco’s supergroup, All City Chess Club. ⎯Mikey Fresh


VIBE: It's been a while since we've heard from you, how’s everything been?

Blu: Everything has been good. I’m working on releasing this new album called NoYork! through Sire/Warner Brothers. It should be out be out by the 1st quarter of 2011. I got Flying Lotus, Sam I Am, Shafiq from SA-RA, Exileand a couple other cats on there.

What inspired the NoYork! title?

It’s got two different meanings, but I would say it’s about a state of mind. It really stems from people always saying I had a New York or East Cost style flow. This being my first real solo record⎯it kind of brings all my different styles together on one album. NoYork! has this broad West Coast sound. There are some other reasons but it’s definitely because of the sound. It’s not a state, it’s a state of mind.

We can already see Internet cats saying you’re dissing New York with that title. Did you actually record any of the project in New York City?

I recorded a song with U-God out here. I spent some time recording Uptown and in Brooklyn. We had to make sure we were getting love from the city. I want to make sure everyone knows I’m not discriminating against New York. It’s a nod to this place if anything

There have been some rumors of you being dropped from Warner Bros. Are you still with the label?

Nah, there’s been no problems. I haven’t had any problems with the label at all. They’ve been open to all our creative ideas. I just like to really take my time before I release anything. I want to make sure I’m completely satisfied with my music.

You have a true DIY approach to releasing new music. Why did you decide to drop the GodLee Barnes LP as one long un-mastered song?

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Cardi B Comments On Government Shutdown: "Our Country Is In A Hellhole"

Cardi B wanted to give her two cents on the now-25 day partial government shutdown. The Grammy-nominated rapper got political on her Instagram page, stating that she believes our country is in a "Hellhole" and she feels terribly for those affected.

"It’s been a little bit over three weeks. Trump is now ordering, as in summoning, federal government workers to go back to work without getting paid," she said. Cardi continued by telling people not to drag former President Barack Obama's partial government shutdown into the conversation, as his shutdown was for a better reason than Trump's dream border wall.

"Now, I don't want to hear any of y'all motherf**kas talkin' 'bout, 'Oh, but Obama shut down the government for 17 days,' Yeah, b***h! For healthcare!" she continued. "So your grandma could check her blood pressure and you b****es could go check y'all p***y at the gynecologist with no motherf**kin' problem. This sh*t is really f**kin' serious, bro. This sh*t is crazy. Like, our country is in a hellhole right now. All for a f**kin' wall."

The Invasion of Privacy MC continues by stating that she is "scared" and feels badly for those who aren't able to be compensated for their work.

"Now, I now a lot of y’all don’t care…  b***h I’m scared," she concludes. "This is crazy, and I really feel bad for these people that gotta go to f**kin' work without getting f**kin' paid."

Watch her comments below.


View this post on Instagram


I know a lot of ya do r watch the news so I’m letting ya know shit getting real .....I ain’t going to say nothing much tho I don’t want mofos to off me.....ANYWAYS TWERK VIDEO OUT NOW

A post shared by CARDIVENOM (@iamcardib) on Jan 16, 2019 at 2:41pm PST

Continue Reading
Getty Images

R. Kelly's Former Manager Will Reportedly Surrender To Georgia Police For Threats Towards Savage Family

James Mason, R. Kelly’s former manager who is being accused of sending terrorizing, threatening text messages to the father of one of Kelly’s accusers, is reportedly surrendering to Georgia authorities.

According to The Blast, Mason will surrender in Henry County, Ga. on Wednesday (Jan. 16) after a judge issued a warrant for his arrest, citing “terroristic threats and acts.” A police report obtained by the site states that Mason told Timothy Savage, the father of Kelly’s alleged cult member Jocelyn Savage, that he was going to “f**king kill” him when he saw him, and that he was going to harm him and his family.

A second manager for Kelly, Don Russell, is also reportedly under investigation for allegedly harassing and threatening the Savage family for participating in the six-part docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly. 

Mr. Savage was reportedly texted by Mr. Russell, who said it would “be best for him and his family if the documentary [Surviving R. Kelly] does not air." During a phone call that was put on speaker, Russell reportedly threatened to reveal information about Mr. Savage if he did not pull out of the doc.

Kelly is under investigation in both Georgia and Illinois, which is reportedly a direct response to the allegations made in the Lifetime docu-series.

Continue Reading
Getty Images

Porn Site Condemns Users After Searches For R. Kelly's Sex Tape Increase

Searches for the infamous sex tape recorded by R. Kelly and featuring a minor has seen an uptick, and a porn site is condemning its users from trying to find it, because child pornography is illegal.

According to The Blast, porn site xHamster reportedly said that searches for the term ‘R. Kelly’ are up 388 percent since the beginning of January. Of course, this coincides with the release of the six-part Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly, which chronicles over 20 years of indecent and immoral behavior towards teenage girls and women.

The site noted that they do not have the infamous tape that involves the controversial musician having sex with and urinating on an underage girl, nor will they ever carry it and other videos like it on their site.

“The R. Kelly tape is not on xHamster, nor would we ever allow it to be,” representatives for the site told The Blast. “Regardless of the news or sensation, a tape featuring underaged is both illegal and immoral.” xHamster also says they will be “disabling searches and putting up messages alerting any searches that the content is not acceptable.”

One of the messages on the site says “Please consider that in searching for and viewing such content, you may be re-victimizing a minor who could not consent.”

Continue Reading

Top Stories