Blu & Exile with Dag Savage, Choosey, Cashus King, TOPE, CAPRIISUN

September 11, 2017 - 9:00pm

         On Monday, September 11, the Community Center for the Performing Arts and University of Oregon Campus Radio 88.1 FM KWVA proudly welcome Blu & Exile’s Below the Heavens 10 Year Anniversary Tour with special guests Dag Savage, Choosey, Cashus King, TOPE and CAPRIISUN.

Below the Heavens, the acclaimed debut studio album by hip-hop duo Blu & Exile, was released July 17, 2007 on independent record label Sound in Color.  Exile had previously released his solo album Dirty Science and two albums as a member of the duo Emanon.  Blu provides rap vocals on all of the album's songs, while Exile produced all of the songs and raps on the bonus track "I Am".   

“The west coast may be booming in 2017, but a decade ago, that was far from the case,” recalls TheBoomBox.  “L.A. native Blu was touted as a savior, with the lyrical chops and artistry that countered The Game’s gruff brand of aggression, and potential to become a west coast emcee who would take the music industry by storm.”

Offered record deals by the likes of Suge Knight’s Death Row Records and producer Megahertz’ boutique label, Blu would decide to spurn both and release his first solo album, California Soul, on independent label RRAG, while increasing his volume of collaborations with local talent.  One guest appearance led to Blu being introduced to singer Aloe Blacc, with the latter suggesting that Blu collaborate with Exile.

The chemistry between Blu and Exile was clearly evident after the recording of “Party of Two”, the first song the two ever crafted as a unit.  The pair agreed to work on a full-length project together.  Blu found inspiration looking back to his formative years as a rhyme specialist, settling on Below the Heavens, a title that spoke to his anti-establishment sensibilities, but quickly took on a more spiritual meaning.

“The title fit due to the album just being day to day life on Earth, striving against something, whether it was the mainstream, or whatever people thought heaven is,” Blu recalls.  “It was striving towards a better place, day to day.  I just felt like that fit the album that me and Exile were working on.”

“Aside from Freestyle Fellowship, the region was mostly known for gangsta rap,” says Exile.  “We wanted to make an L.A. record that was conscious and had heart. Something reflective about life and growing up.”

Blu & Exile mesh together seamlessly throughout the fourteen tracks on Below the Heavens, but reach a peak with “No Greater Love”, a dusty number that chops up Smokey Robinson’s 1972 cut “Theme From Love Story” and catches Blu waxing poetic about the wonders of romantic relationships and the joy that family brings.

Regarded as one of the superior albums of 2007, Below the Heavens would be subjected to numerous accolades, with respected outlets and publications touting it as the breakout indie rap projects to drop that year.  Below the Heavens was highlighted by popular social media site MySpace – who posted the album cover on its homepage -- and hailed by fans and critics as a refreshing breath of fresh air.

“Almost immediately the pirated album, Below the Heavens, received more adulation than almost anything to come out of L.A. in the previous half-decade,” notes LA Weekly.   

Upon its release 10 years ago this month, Below the Heavens immediately sold out of its 3,500-unit first run; then it sold another 3,500 directly after.  The album has been reissued twice since going out of print in 2009.  In 2011, it was reissued on Vinyl Call Records.   In 2014, the album was reissued on Fat Beats Records on compact disc with three bonus tracks, a limited edition cassette with one bonus track, and vinyl with a 7-inch vinyl with two unreleased instrumentals.

“I had no idea this record would stand the test of time the way it has,” Blu adds. “I was just trying to be as real and ill as possible without sounding like someone else or sounding like I was trying to impress someone. Exile made my vision a reality every step of the way.”

Below the Heavens stands as a sort of landmark accomplishment for the two artists.  Blu has been fairly quiet in 2017, but last July he dropped his Titans in the Flesh EP with Nottz, and it’s safe to say his skills are as sharp now as they were in 2007.

 

TOPE

 

Producer / Rapper TOPE is considered one of the top up and coming artists in the Northwest region and has been recently featured on XXL, The Source, 2DopeBoyz, Okayplayer, Jay-Z's Life + Times, Hip Hop Wired, Hip Hop DX, and more for his album latest BROKE BOY SYNDROME.  

Since his debut album in 2010, TOPE has produced and/or collaborated with artists including Slum Village, Blu, Planet Asia, TiRon, Myka 9, Abstract Rude, Scarub of Living Legends, LMNO, and many more.  With a commanding stage presence and energetic live show, TOPE has shared stages with hip hop legends including Nas, Mobb Deep, Talib Kweli, Run The Jewels, Deltron 3030, Big KRIT, Dom Kennedy, Black Milk, Mac Miller, Ty Dolla $ign, Digable Planets, Hieroglyphics, Aesop Rock, The Coup, People Under The Stairs, Macklemore and countless others.

Recently, TOPE relocated to the Bay Area, released his new EP SOME THINGS MUST CHANGE, and briefly toured with Gift Of Gab from Blackalicious.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 day of show.   Doors open at 8:00 pm and showtime is 9:00.



 

 

Door Time: 
September 11, 2017 - 8:00pm
Cost: 
$15 Advance, $18 Day of Show