Song: Blu and Exile – “On The Radio”

Premiered by VIBE, the Mainstream-Bashing Track is the Latest Release From the Rapper/Producer Duo’s Upcoming In The Beginning: Before The Heavens, the Prequel to 2007’s Below The Heavens


Critical Praise

“The contemplative beauty of Exile’s beats fits Blu’s soul-searching perfectly on Below the Heavens.” Pitchfork

“Blu and Exile’s Underground Classic Below the Heavens Changed West Coast Hip-Hop” – L.A. Weekly

“[Below The Heavens’] timeless production, raw vulnerability, and obscure mythology make the 2007 album a quiet classic.” – Noisey

The Song:

Blu‘s fluid and incisive rhyming style perfectly complements Exile dusty, crate-digging instrumentals, creating a retro sound built to stand the test of time. Returning with another outtake from the sessions of their 2007 underground classic Below The Heavens, Blu & Exile share On The Radio,” a head-nodding sunburst of a statement of purpose for the duo. Premiered by VIBE, “On The Radio” explains the depth of difference between the L.A. duo and mainstream rap. As Blu sings in the chorus, “Feels like Hip-Hop’s lost its soul/Cause every time I’m on the road/Ain’t no matter where I go/Same shit’s on the radio.” “On The Radio” is the latest release from In The Beginning: Before The Heavens a follow-up and companion piece to Below The Heavens, comprised of unreleased original cuts from the Below The Heavens sessions. Last week, the duo shared the funky boom-bap Back To Basic’s,” premiered by XXL. Featuring appearances from Aloe Blacc, Co$$, Donel Smokes, Blame One, and more, In The Beginning: Before The Heavens releases on October 20th.

“This song was our attempt to make a radio song exactly stating how we feel about the radio,” explains Blu. “Our way of keeping it true and not selling out even for the album. This is one of the songs that helped me get more open with writing the rest of the album. One of Exile’s oldest beats, he pulled that from deep out the vault. I was like… ‘oh, that’s me.'”

With his fluid, incisive rhyming style and his intellectual lyrics, L.A. rapper Blu found his ideal aesthetic match in the soulful beats of crate-digging producer/DJ Exile. Released in Summer 2007, Below The Heavens received rave reviews from tastemakers and appeared on many year-end best-of lists. The momentum from Below The Heavens led to Blu’s signing to Warner Bros. Records, and propelled the young rapper onto the 2009 XXL Freshman List alongside B.o.B, Kid Cudi, and Wale. In 2012, Blu and Exile reunited for Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Themexpanding the palette of Below The Heavens and showcasing Blu’s multi-syllabic dexterity. In 2017, the duo reunited for the nationwide headlining Below The Heavens 10th Anniversary tour. “We planted the seeds of creativity and grew about 40 plants,” Exile says of In The Beginning: Before The Heavens. “We picked the ones that we thought were the best for an album, but that didn’t mean that the other flowers weren’t beautiful. I’m super happy to re-release [In The Beginning] to people and have it actually get some attention that it definitely deserves. It’s amazing.” Stay tuned for In The Beginning: Before The Heavens, coming out October 20th.

Listen to “On The Radio”:

Check out the VIBE premiere:

Pre-order In The Beginning: Before The Heavens

Pre-order a physical copy of In The Beginning: Before The Heavens:

Please contact Michelle or Isabel for more info.

The Background

In 2007, the same year that Kanye vs. 50 Cent in an album sales battle dominated headlines in the mainstream, Blu and Exile were carving their own path with an instant classic. The rapper and DJ/producer duo released Below the Heavens: In Hell Happy With Your New Imaginary Friend on July 17. Featuring soul-infused production with the raw vulnerability of Blu’s rhymes, the album began to receive rave reviews by hip-hop tastemakers and underground enthusiasts. In a review penned by 2DopeBoys’ Shake for HipHopDX, he gave it a 4/5 and noted that Blu is an “an extremely talented lyricist; clever rhymes, technically sound, intensely personal and witty.” Below the Heavens impacted everyone in some way, as it would later end up on many critics’ year-end lists from all over the internet.

2017 marks the 10-year anniversary of Below the Heavens. One of the interesting tidbits about the album is Blu and Exile made over 40 songs, with only 15 of them making the final cut. Now, the duo is reuniting for their third release, In the Beginning: Before the Heavens, a collection of the best tracks from the original sessions. “I’m super happy to re-release it to people and have it actually get some attention that it definitely deserves,” Exile says. “It’s amazing.”

Blu: twitter | tumblr | bandcamp | instagram | spotify

Exile: official site | twitter | instagram | facebook | spotify

“On The Radio”:

“Back To Basic’s”:


Pre-order In The Beginning: Before The Heavens

Below The Heavens

Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them:…my-flowers-while-i-can-still-smell-them…/id1021444977