Record Label: Fat Beats Records
On September 4, Southern California’s Blu & Exile return to their collaborative origins with the release of Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, the long-anticipated followup to the duo’s landmark debut, Below the Heavens.
Featuring Fashawn, Homeboy Sandman, Johaz of Dag Savage, Black Spade of Hawthorne Headhunters, and ADAD, the new album on Fat Beats / Dirty Science is both an evolution from and complement to their first: a cohesive, kicked back collection of hip-hop buoyed by Blu’s gymnastic wordplay and Exile’s soulful, sample-driven beats. While Blu’s penchant for introspection and analysis remains intact, his perspective ebbs from the sun-soaked nostalgia of Below the Heavens to a more playful realm where raps about lost love and forgotten dreams find equal footing with those about Gondry films and delivery cheesecake. Together Blu & Exile have taken the raw materials of rap and crafted charmingly idiosyncratic, album-minded mu- sic that transcends coasts and continents alike.
As with Dilla & Common, Hi-Tek & Talib Kweli, and Pete Rock & CL Smooth, there’s a kindred understanding between Blu and Exile that invites instant ease and empathy. Although Exile has produced tracks for Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Akon, Aloe Blacc, Jurassic 5, Kardinal Offishall, and Mobb Deep, it is with Blu that his production feels most at home. Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, though undoubtedly a logical progression in both sound and scope, defies all the hype, precedents, and expectations to reaffirm the duo’s position at the forefront of LA’s burgeoning beat scene.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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