By Zach Gase
For the last few years since his critically acclaimed Below The Heavens project with producer Exhile, rapper Blu has been sleepwalking through his verses with a lazy, early Snoop laid back delivery. New Nottz collaboration, Gods in the Spirit finds a return to ferocity for Blu.
Though fans who criticized Blu’s sleepytime flows on recent projects will be excited to hear a return to form, this EP is sort of a let down in a couple of ways, most notably the high number of guest appearances. You have Blu rapping like the 2008 version of himself, but he splits time with eight other emcees on the first three tracks, with most of them bring relatively mediocre performances. Nitty Scott, MC ruins a solid track in Boyz II Men with an annoying hook, and Versis and ScienZe drop forgettable verses on Crème of the Crop.
On the plus side, there are some solid performance from Blu’s usual collaborators, Sene and Co$$, and a standout verse from Homeboy Sandman delivers a nice verse on Crooks in Castles, but there’s simply not enough Blu on this EP’s 21 minutes.
Nottz is a good match for Blu’s more aggressive style, but his overall production on this EP isn’t the best work from the Virginia-based beatsmith. End of the World is the EP’s best track, both lyrically and production wise, and the orchestral beat of God Shit works for an epic style finale. Tracks like the noisy aforementioned Crooks in Castles and the horn-heavy “Boyz II Men” are not bad per se, just not the level of quality you would expect from Nottz (especially after hearing Pusha T’s Nosetalgia).
Blu has released an incredible amount of projects since his critically adored debut in 2007. A few of them have been great and a few have been mediocre. Gods in the Spirit sits somewhere right in the middle, but offers something to fans who have been discouraged by some of Blu’s less traditional works (such as No York and HerFavoriteColo(u)r). Fans of straightforward beats and straightforward raps will claim this is Blu’s best release in years. However, those who appreciate Blu’s more experimental works will agree that this is a slightly above average release.
Out of 5
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