Fans of Los Angeles rapper Blu will testify to his hatred of the spacebar, pointing out titles such as HerFavoriteColo(u)r, theGODleeBarnes(lp), and Johnson&Jonson. But like Jesus from the tomb on the third day, Blu’s usage of a spacebar has seemingly resurrected for his Jesus album, as all the song titles are spaced l i k e t h i s. Blu fans will also tell you he has unique beliefs when it comes to marketing, as Jesus ascended to the Web and descended into hard drives without a peep of prophecy.
Blu and Madlib are a match made in lo-fi heaven, creating an ideal space for Madlib to work his dusty sample-laden magic for the title track. “Doo Whop”, which features Blu’s alliteration attempts bursting with adverbs and adjectives, is an Alchemist arrangement awash with doo-wop’s signature bassline and singers that sound like sunshine.
“Summer’s on, stuck in a storm/rubbing a rabbit’s foot, fattened by that fish/ fathom, full as fuck like a willie in the Phantom/ and this mammoth mouth mix the fly fragrance with the jasmine.”
“On the Porch” is a soulful, lazy summer Sunday that demands sunglasses and a cold beer with the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, whose “So Long” is the sample of choice for producer Nathan. Hezekiah’s organ and handclaps on “Burgandy” provide the closest thing to a banger on Jesus as Blu shifts the album out of the mellow feeling it stays in for most of the album.
The album ends while you’re waiting for it to get started, as it doesn’t even reach 30 minutes, as several tracks are in the 60-90 second range. While there’s an overall soulful vibe, there’s a lack of cohesiveness that makes you wonder what exactly Blu was going for. Jesus was supposed to be a flavorful appetizer to tide us over to until NoYork!, which was stuck in the Warner Brothers kitchen for so long Blu took over the distribution operations himself, handing out copies at the Rock the Bells festival in San Bernardino. Jesus will most likely end up as a footnote to NoYork! due more to bad timing rather than a reflection of quality.