Blu - Open

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"Open", Blu's fourth solo full-length project, comes over like nice guy rap - wholesome but unspectacular.

Blu exists as the underground version of what Lupe Fiasco should be. That is, he writes positive-parsed raps that the everyman is meant to be able to relate to. The Cali rapper goes about his rap business without resorting to the incessant whining that has become a trademark of Lupe's career, too; so while Lupe gives off the impression that he's frustrated about never hitting the same superstar heights as his pals Kanye West and Pharrell Williams (despite monumental success with Lasers), Blu seems content with his place in Hip Hop. It's a realization that imbues the California-based rapper's music with a certain nourishing humbleness, but it also means that at times Open, his fourth solo full-length project, comes over like nice guy rap - wholesome but unspectacular.

Blu, whose most lauded project to date handed over production duties to Exile, is behind the boards for all 14 tracks on the album. He favors tightly-wrought beats crafted from jazz licks and stabs of brass. At best, he taps into the spirit of the Native Tongues sound without aping Tribe's vibe; the uplifting "GottaBeFree" is the album's stand-out, managing to drum up feelings of self-motivation without coming across as preachy. But too often Blue fails to provoke a reaction with his music. So "RememberMe," which is Blu's attempt to look back and pay tribute to Hip Hop acts that inspired him, misses in its attempt to hit a nerve of nostalgia. Instead, it ends up sounding like a well-meaning but emotionless list of some groups he just so happens to like, set to a beat that meanders. It's music to drift off to, whether you want to or not.

And that's the issue with listening to Open: You know that it's good, worthy Hip Hop; you know that Blu's lyrics are well intentioned. But by the end of the album you're left thinking you'd prefer Blu take a note from Lupe's playbook and surround himself with a few charismatic douchebags and kick a toast to the assholes.

58 Comments

  • Rashaad

    absolutely horrible, ignorant review. Yes, the album wasn't 'spectacular' but the flimsy justifications were lazy and arrogant, like 40% of the reviews on this website.

  • natalie

    Amazing from being to end

  • Ann

    THW WORST FUCKING REVIEW EVER!! AND LMAO AT THE SHOTS FIRED AT LU, are u stupid, lupe is prolly one of the only rapper currently in the game who is good and keeping hip hop alive

  • Now Or Never

    Tribe of Levi is a really dope crew! It's a shame their song gets clipped at the end! Check out their video: Tribe Of Levi - "Things to do" - Directed by Jae Synth http://youtu.be/UwbyzODmPQg

  • Aaron Smarter

    Thanks for the shout out! I appreciate you stating my song was the standout!

  • HipHopDxIsASS

    lol worst review ever didnt even say it was blu's producing album which only had blu rapping on two tracks lol worst writer ever then he calls him Blue lol AND IF U SEE THE E DROM EM

  • LA$E

    "RememberMe," which is Blu's attempt to look back and pay tribute to Hip Hop acts that inspired him, misses in its attempt to hit a nerve of nostalgia. Instead, it ends up sounding like a well-meaning but emotionless list of some groups he just so happens to like, set to a beat that meanders. It's music to drift off to, whether you want to or not. Who is this pussy and what does he not understand that Remember me was not Blu the Song is originally featured as the last track on my dude Dtails AKA Mitah Tibbs. 8 track EP.. it Features Definite 1Verse and Dtail on the second Blu did the beat thats it.. this writer is a clown and knows nothin bout what he speaks... if yall fux wit Remember me check DEFINITE ON DEFINITEMASS.COM hes also on the NO YORK TRACK DOWN TO EARTH 3RD VERSE...

  • mr. tibbs

    Disappointing in comparison to alot of his past work. Even worse is I got a copy of NO York at a Blu concert and that shit is terrible. Come on Blu, be that throwback nigga you used to be cause this new shit is horrible.

  • Stakes Is High

    "Blue" *face palm* get this shitty writer off your quickly deteriorating site.

  • Right On

    3/5... this review sucks dick its unbelievable the hypocrisy that goes on in rap and on these websites.. what do you people want? rappers go commercial and you turn on them in a second when they rap about their wristwatch but then when this dude called blu comes up that could take every one of those mainstream pussies but instead decides to go the way of true new creative hip hop, you people turn on them to! if you really love this kind of music then you would like this album plain and simple. if you dont really understand, appreciate or enjoy the culture and fundamentals of rap then keep your opinion to yourself cause you dont know shit about what your talking about

  • Anonymous

    1 of a 3 paragraph review is about Lupe and the other a conclusion.... Horrible review btw

  • ael

    "So "RememberMe," which is Blu's attempt to look back and pay tribute to Hip Hop acts that inspired him, misses in its attempt to hit a nerve of nostalgia." Blu didn't even rap on this song. This review is so terrible and incorrect at times it should honestly just be taken down, lmfao. and lol at this faggot calling Blu "Blue"

  • Anonymous

    Terrible. Wanna be creative.

  • Bizzalls

    Fuckin garbage!! WTF did I just listen to?! Shit sucks ass. So does that exile 4trackmind bullshit!

  • Mike

    Spectacular work from a genius.

  • Everett Da Amin Rucker

    uhhh why is Lupe mentioned in half the review?

  • 3rd Rock From The Slums

    "And that's the issue with listening to Open: You know that it's good, worthy Hip Hop; you know that Blu's lyrics are well intentioned." ^^^Blu only raps on a few songs on this album. The rest is all guests. WTF?

  • ItsTheTruth

    Where the fuck is the Styles P Master of Ceremonies Review?!

  • Charles Benévolo Singletary

    "...despite the monumental success with Lasers..."

  • Anonymous

    yeah i'm sure Lupe acts the way he does and is frustrated because he isn't as famous or rich as other artist. yeah you hit the nail on the head with that one. DUMB ASS.

  • talktalkreal

    Hello down there iddle1 like your joint. Check out my man's new EP. http://jamesexsel.bandcamp.com/album/revenge-of-the-nerd-ep Oh yeah HipHop DX for the 2nd time I don't agree with you. You hating on EPMD to big up DTMD was kinda lame. Success might be starting to ruin another hip hop state.

  • iddle1

    some serious Lupe hate in this article.... check my new song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HitsGgpM9VY

  • JG

    looks like producing you own shit is the new trend...saving money?

  • jay

    ummm...yeah, worst review ever...the album aint for everybody...very lo-fi...but LUPE AND BLU ARE TOTALLY DIFF>>>

    • Anonymous

      actually theyre kinda similar except lupe uses more wordplay and is more clever with his songmakin while blu just tells it 2 u straight

  • Arch Stanton

    "you're left thinking you'd prefer Blu take a note from Lupe's playbook and surround himself with a few charismatic douchebags and kick a toast to the assholes." No, no you don't.

  • Anonymous

    Dope album, worst review ever... It's a Blu album and all he talks about is Lupe FFS!! What has Lupe got to do with anything??? don't let this guy review another album especially if it's a Lupe one because he's clearly going to give it a 5 even if it is balls.

  • Jay.R

    Is it just me or is this dude terrible about actually releasing music correctly? One day he's releasing this album, the next it's this album and so on. It's fuckin annoying.

  • TRUTH

    If you find me mentioning one of his other albums, thats not because im comparing thats simply me saying "Below The Heavens" is what i like. On that note... fine dont drop anything like "below the heavens" i'll just keep checkin your new shit & not purchase/support what i dont enjoy. I dont just blindly support someone because i like one thing they did sometime long ago haha. You either put out music i like or your dont, its fine either way.

  • greek

    blu swallows LUPE FIASCO IS THE GOAT

  • Sense

    Below the Heavens is in the past. If you can't look past that album then you are not a true Blu fan or supporter and are missing the whole point of the emcee in general, fuck it. MUSIC in general. Stop expecting another Below the Heavens. It's not going to happen. Blu is doing something no other artist does. ITS CALLED PROGRESSION. No album by Blu is the same, so there is no point in comparing or expecting something similar. Get real. This is a production album and you're making it seem like its a solo project show casing lyricism. It's show casing his beats and the talent of other emcee's. Okayplayer gave it a 9/10 because they understand hip hop and the artists before they make a review. Stop expecting. Just listen to the music for what it is. Dope.

  • Not The Best, But Dope

    First off Blu has nothing to do with Lupe, and if you listen to his music, there is a CRAZY WIDE variation in styles. Compared this to NoYork to Johnson&Johnson to something like Amnesia. Almost every review I read of any of Blu's work revolves around "this album/EP/mixtape isn't Below the Heavens," and that's not just fair to a musician as creative as this guy. This project was just about showing off creative beats he made like a year ago. This isn't my favorite but Blu always comes hard on the mic and the boards. 4/5

    • Darius Huggins

      I agree with you 100%, Blu's embodiment of work shouldn't be compared to Lupe @ all. They both are talented lyricist but I find Blu's material to be more diverse. His albums are not the same and that creative aspect defines his evolution as an artist. I haven't heard this album yet but I will soon and share my opinion.

  • Freshman_Woes

    It's okay if you didn't like this album but you're reviewing it like a Blu solo project. You don't even mention that this is a compilation of Blu production & guest MCs. You write as if Blu is doing everything (production & lyrics). Blu only raps on 2 songs on this album. Neither of those songs are mentioned in your review. Did you even listen to it? I'm a big supporter of HipHopDX but yall are falling off with these reviews. First the Ev review & now this.

  • Anonymous

    why is the first paragraph on this review about lupe? and second how does this reviewer "know" how lupe fiasco's career should go?

  • Chris Newberry

    Where is the No-York album?

  • vern

    Really dope review! DX's writing is stepping up again. None of Blu's 2011 projects are worth your money if you don't yet own Johnson & Jonson or Below The Heavens.

    • Anonymous

      Bet you this was written by someone from HipHopDX.

    • R.Pgh

      I hate to say it, but you're spot on. Below the Heavens is probably my favorite album over the past 6 years and J&J is stellar as well. Her Favorite Colour is good, but it seems more of a beats album than hunger in his lyrics. Haven't heard this one yet, so I won't rush to judge.

    • Chris Newberry

      Johnson & Johnson was a great album!