Pop & Hiss

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L.A. @ SXSW: Blu

March 7, 2009 |  1:46 pm

Pop & Hiss will be covering the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas, March 18-22. Most of our time there will be spent chasing down bands that don't live in our own backyard, so in the days leading up to the industry event, we'll be looking at some noteworthy locals heading to Texas.

Who: Blu

What to listen to: Start with the 2007 full-length “Below the Heavens.” It’s a showcase for the artist’s descriptive storytelling and use of jazz and soul soundscapes, courtesy of producer Exile. You can stream a clean version of “My World Is ... ” below, which samples the Dells’ “I Can Sing A Rainbow / Love Is Blue,” and sets up “Below the Heavens” as a sort of West Coast answer to Common’s introspective “One Day It’ll All Make Sense.” Blu touches on sports, school and religion in the opening number, opting for realism over aggression, and even pokes a little fun at himself -- as well as at the more materialistic persona that permeates mainstream hip-hop. “Females, I don’t got ’em,” he raps, “but get ’em with no problem.”

He's playing Austin: He'll help close out the Thursday night showcases with an early Friday performance (1 a.m.) on March 20 at the Independent. Blu's performing with Exile as part of a showcase hosted by the L.A. Record. Other performers on the bill include the Henry Clay People and Castledoor. Once back home, he’ll appear at the Paid Dues Festival at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino on March 28. 

-- Mark Medina

Related: L.A. @ SXSW: Roll the Tanks
Related: L.A. @ SXSW: Afternoons
Related: L.A. @ SXSW: Great Northern

Photo: Ryan Lewis