Blu & Exile
Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them
Azulitos Birthday Cake/Exile Dirty Science
The names of California natives Blu and Exile shouldn’t come as a surprise to any fan of Hip-Hop, but just in case it does then don’t feel terribly bad; it was five years ago that they released arguably one of the best projects to come out that year (2007) with Below The Heavens, and received so much critical acclaim for it on the back-end to the point where they may or may not have felt the pressure for a sequel. True, they’ve both had separate career arcs; Exile’s an established producer and rhymer, dating back to 1995 and working with the likes of Fashawn, Soopa Fly, and others, while Blu started to surface noticeably around 2003. Regardless, it’s something about when they’re together that makes everyone stop and notice, as evident with their first aforementioned LP.
I’m not sure if it’s an attempt to recreate that initial feeling, or platform off it, or maybe it’s a little bit of both, but with their latest LP, Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, they dig back into that familiar formula for music and, for the most part, they get it right. Unfortunately, there’s a few things that keep this from being one of the better projects of the year, and although the music is dope, it’s hindered because of it.
The main things that hold this back is, remarkably, the presentation. The Intro and Outro are (dope) instrumentals, the lyrics never waver in their integrity, and the features here all help to boost the overall value of the project, but for some reason the tracks all seem to just drone on. Maybe it’s due to the fact that most of the songs have the same tempo, or maybe it’s because some tracks Blu fails to keep his energy level up and vary his flows, or possibly it’s due to there being too many tracks. Even those seem to be nitpicks, in hindsight, but there’s something off about the presentation that, at times, makes the album not as free-flowing as Below The Heavens, and as a result, not as easy to listen to and enjoy.
Even with those flaws, however, this is still a solidly built project founded on a great chemistry that produces even better, substance-filled tracks like “A Man” and the “The Only One”, among others that’s littered throughout the tracklisting. Blu’s charismatic personality still shines through, most notably at the end of “Don’t Be Jelly” as he talks about not walking for cheesecake or weed, and again, the production here is dope (although most of the songs seem to have a similar tempo). Even if it doesn’t exactly measure up to the first, Give Me My Flowers is still a project worth checking out and supporting, and comparing it to the free release that sparked this re-release is almost criminal. This is much, much better… Hear it for yourself.