In The Lab: Blu on the Making of Good To Be Home

Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

It’s no secret—Blu’s got bars. Those who have been following his career since before he graced the XXL Freshmen cover in 2009 alongside cats like Curren$y and Kid Cudi already know that, though. But Blu’s capabilities go above and beyond cypher skills. The guy knows how to make a dope project. His 2007 LP with Exile Below the Heavens is widely considered an underground classic, and for good reason. And there’s a long trail of other outstanding releases (his discography is too deep to highlight honestly, and he’s done some ill guest spots too with everyone from The Roots to Roc Marciano) leading us to his upcoming double album Good To Be Home, which is due out May 20th. Produced entirely by frequent collaborator Bombay and with features by Prodigy, Alchemist, Evidence, Fashawn, Casey Veggies, Imani of The Pharcyde, and more, this latest effort is Blu’s ode to California, the coast he calls home. And if his lowrider-ready first single “The West” is any indication of what we can expect from the double LP, we’re in for a soulful, sunny, and straight-up special listening experience.

For our latest In The Lab, Blu—who’s been in Paris working on something that’s still under wraps—found some downtime to shoot us an e-kite and take us behind the scenes of Good to Be Home, giving us a few insights into what his studio life was like while he was putting together the double album. And he dropped a couple bonus tidbits for the series, too. Vibe out with Blu below.

Recording

Blu: “I recorded all of the double album between two studios. One in Long Beach and the other off Beverly and Fairfax. It’s a mixture between being around all the hipsters and all the hippies. We sleep in the studio, that’s the Long Beach spot. And the Beverly spot we just go in and bang out a bunch of tunes at once. Our work ethic and recording pace is crazy—we always make the best out of our stay.”

Beats

“I wasn’t too involved in the beat-making of this double album. I think the main reason it became a double album was because I had so many gems to choose from. It went from being, ‘Let me cut a couple songs for the homie,’ to, ‘Hey, what do you think of dropping a double CD?’ I always say me working with Bombay was like a kid walking into a candy store, yo. I never left.”

Studio Essentials

“Man, for this album, the usual. Weed of course—we are very fortunate to live in California where marijuana is legal, so we definitely take advantage of that and stay as far away from cigarettes as possible. Beers—New Castles or Red Stripes, or the brown liqs for late night sessions. [And] Jack in the Crack [aka Jack in the Box for munchies].”

Inspiration/Collaboration

“This was one album where I needed no outside inspiration. My main fuel was wanting to put my style down on a sound that I feel complemented where my pen is right now. Really soulful block music, really really Cali. So the writing was most enjoyable—it was just me telling my story. But I did get a lot of fuel from a lot of the people who are on the record, who seem to have dropped records during the time we were recording ours. So we got the prime hot shit. Mitchy Slick, M.E.D., Alchemist and Evidence, Krondon, Durag Dynasty, Prodigy—[they] all have dropped great albums while we were recording this record. So it was a blessing to get them in the studio with us!! Man, Prodigy’s verse, classic bro bro. Classic Pee.”

Studio Vibe

“Sometimes it’s just me writing or playing beats with Bombay. Most times, I have a homegirl and her friend holding me down. And the homies always popped up, dropped verses or just hung out, and enjoyed the vibe. I felt like Dre when he was making The Chronic, just a lot broker. But very fortunate.”

Writing/Vocals

“This album was [all about] burning down tablets. The writing was a lot of fun. All the songs were written to the beats for this album, because all the beats were done beforehand.

“[I record all my vocals in] one take, three takes, not any more than four ever I feel like. It was really, really natural, and I think that’s where you can feel the magic happening.”

Hooks

“Hooks were just as popping as verses, we weren’t muzzled or restricted at all on this record. I really feel like it’s a celebration of how far we have come over in Los Angeles, where a lot of the beef, and police drama, and bullshit on the block has calmed down. Good To Be Home is like a ‘we made it’ celebration party.”

Working with Bombay

Bass God Bombay was in the lab with me about half of the time, which is alot. But the chemistry was there. We are definitely into the same shit, born the same year, and pretty much had the same vision on how the album should come out. So it was like a snap of the fingers to get us to do an entire record. I’m excited for people to hear the whole double album. It’s full of good shit!!”

*Bonus*

First Recordings

“My very first songs were recorded on a cheap hand-held recorder over Brandy and Whitney Houston instrumentals. My cousins wrote all the raps and I would learn them, and we would record to [their] sister’s cassette singles cause they always had the instrumental versions on them. We were like 12 and 13.”

Standout Past Project

“Every record I have ever put out has been a pleasure to create. The most difficult was No York. That has become my Black Album, the blacklisted album that was shelved by Warner Bros. But it was a pleasure creating all of our music.”

Dream Studio Collaboration

“Dilla, bro bro. Anything with Dilla, yo!!”

Pics via Ailleurs&Demain and Day & a Dream.

Previously: In The Lab with Sean C & LV | In The Lab with Harry Fraud | In The Lab with RATKING | In The Lab with The Alchemist and Evidence (Step Brothers) | In The Lab with Thelonious Martin | In The Lab with Troy Ave |  In The Lab with Marco Polo |  In The Lab with Black Milk | In The Lab with Oddisee | In The Lab with Pete Rock | In The Lab with Party Supplies | In The Lab with Mac Miller | In The Lab with Roc Marciano


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26 Responses to “In The Lab: Blu on the Making of Good To Be Home

  1. ILLmatic nigga Says:

    only real nigga outchea

  2. IN_SITE Says:

    blue is ill http://insite.bandcamp.com/

  3. cOLD Says:

    spam-a-lot

  4. cOLD Says:

    In site pretty dope, sound like a Nine and a Killah Priest mix.

    you must be Yardie.

  5. cOLD Says:

    tip: get rid of the X like raspiness, sound forced.

  6. cOLD Says:

    …this nigga got hidden colors interludes. wow.

  7. S.I.K.H Says:

    *still has`nt heard “Below The Heavens”*

    lol damn.gonna check for this though

    The whole Dirty Science clique is nasty

  8. S.I.K.H Says:

    @cOLD

    funny to see you here today.I was flipping through July 2010 comments yesterday..Good Times

    PS if you still got my old email,please reach out my nigga.always wanted to maintain communications with you my nig.

    Got plenty of new material ,Click the name and get up to speed.

  9. cOLD Says:

    what up S.I.K.H ahh I was flipping through old comments too. Old comments >>>

    what’s been up bruh?

  10. cOLD Says:

    *still has`nt heard “Below The Heavens”*

    ^ Below the Heavens was that shit… The Nas tribute was on point.

  11. cOLD Says:

    ever listen to an album and it brought you back to a certain time, moment… Just caught a flashback real quick like.

  12. cOLD Says:

    Used to bang BTH and that Elzhi shit

  13. Charles Lee Ray Says:

    Got plenty of new material ,Click the name and get up to speed.

    -lol no thanks

  14. cOLD Says:

    is this thee CLR…

  15. cOLD Says:

    they say if niggas wanna ride…

    you force em to peddle.

  16. cOLD Says:

    I’m still in the trap like Tiger at par three.

  17. A-1 Says:

    Niggas going through old comments trying to relive them glory days smh

  18. No shots, like stray dogs Says:

    cOLD Says:
    April 17th, 2014 at 10:57 am
    is this thee CLR…

    > Nah , just one of the many masks. Whats good glacial? Hope you and the fam are all well.

  19. cOLD Says:

    roffle at mask still existing after this long hiatus… But yo… Everything is well my brother.

  20. A-1 Says:

    I know you right here fool. No escaping this. No matter how many masks your bitchass oldass got.

  21. A-1 Says:

    Burrrrrrrrr

  22. A-1 Says:

    You cant hide behind your boys/masks forever fuck nigga.

  23. A-1 Says:

    Your face is just missing that casket if you keep fuckin around and dont give me mine.

  24. A-1 Says:

    Pussy boy goes into hiding when I come out

  25. A-1 Says:

    The jig is up

  26. Hoskins Says:

    Saw Blu perform last week. Never seen a rapper with worse stage prescence

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