Sep 23, 2008 - 12:00 AM
Long Beach indie emcee Blu must never sleep. After dropping two releases in under a year, he has teamed up with producer Mainframe for his latest project, Johnson&Jonson (available today on Tres Records). This self-titled album packs plenty of hits to leave listeners feeling powder fresh and smooth as a baby’s bottom.
Meant as a mixtape for Blu and producer Exile’s Below the Heavens, Johnson&Jonson is less introspective and more arrogant. It’s as if he took the bravado meter on the C.R.A.C. album and turned it up to max. The rock-infused opener “Finally” has Blu bragging about a plethora of his bad ass qualities including a drinking habit he picked up at the ripe age of 10.
While Blu is serious about his swagger, Johnson&Jonson is not devoid of comic relief. “Go for the Gusto Room” features side-splitting stand up from comedian Bo Bo Lamb. After suffering a devastating $390 loss at a casino, Mr. Lamb thinks there should be a lounge where losers can get a hug, slice of cake, and lick their wounds. On “Wow,” Blu spits smooth prose over a disco-licious beat accompanied by soft, breathy vocals.
Blu does manage to take a break from his trash talking tirade on the bonus track “Hold on John.” Here, he is reflective and hopeful. Then again, a John Lennon sample will humble anyone. Mainframe’s knack for sick and quirky beats compliments Blu’s off the cuff delivery perfectly. He’s worked with notable acts like J Dilla, Slum Village and Pacific Division. Some of them, like “Mama Always Told Me,” sound like they could be a theme song for any sitcom of that era.
Johnson&Jonson is full of 70s funk and soul melodies orchestrated by producer Mainframe. The finished product is a match made in Tres Records high-jinx heaven.
Kimberly Turner is Oh Dang! Magazine's resident music critic and pastry fiend. And No, she's not fat.