The rap music scene has a lot to offer these days, and it appears there is even more to come. Blu and Nottz released their latest project Titans In The Flesh on July 15 via Diamond Media 360, almost three years after their last EP Gods In The Spirit which was released in 2013. Blu is a rapper based in LA and Nottz is a Virginia record producer and the two have collaborated again to produce this seven-track EP. It features guest vocals from Exile, Bishop Lamont and Mickey Factz.
If you are an old school hip-hop fan you will love Titans In The Flesh, as it carries that 90s rap vibe and is just as good. One such track is “The Truth“, the first one on the EP, which shows Blu and Nottz wanted to start off with a winner. It has a consistent backing beat, almost like a slightly distorted piano and crackly feedback from a speaker so that the track is catchy and does not distract the listener from the lyrics.
Shateish joins the rapping at the chorus and breaks through with her soulful voice with a Faith Evans in “I’ll Be Missing You” style and it is truly spectacular. The combination of vocal ability, complimentary beats and rap talent makes this track stand out especially.
The album flows perfectly; you can easily plug in your headphones and find yourself listening to the whole album without skipping a track, so each is appreciated. “The Man” featuring Exile is a deck-shuffling track with all kinds of sounds and elements going on. Plenty of men are listed in the lyrics, Iron Man, Spiderman and the Elephant Man, but Blu is the man and Exile is just as important.
There is a jazzy trumpet blasting out in the background to create a real sense of drama, bars are spit consistently without need for a break and there are sound effects fading in and out as you are listening. Blu is rapping about his place on the pedestal above everybody else and how rather than the being just the ‘black man’ he is painted as he is just the man. Blu knows how to put together powerful lyrics and Nottz knows how to match these with his music.
Nottz takes risks with the music he produces and combines sounds that would not appear to go together at a first glance. “To The East” begins with a female vocalist who sounds as though her voice is used for a princess in a Disney movie, but immediately bursts into opposing heavy rap. It’s as though they want to keep their listeners second guessing and turning over their sense of familiarity by setting the track up to be slow and emotional when it is actually fast paced and punchy.
“Heaven On Earth” is similar, as there is a female vocalist singing to begin with, yet this track has a whole other atmosphere about it with her singing sounding almost twisted and taunting. She speaks of a place that kids must visit “before you die” and Blu continues to reflect on what is important for us to focus on and what is wrong with this planet, “the weak will inherit right after the weak perish“.
“Atlantis” sounds like an acapella track with some sort of choir chorus backing the track throughout, which makes each song sound completely different from the last with its own little quirk. The name reminds listeners of the lost city of Atlantis, and Blu is looking about himself and comparing this world to the myth as he reflects that this world is lost, “public housing in Hugh Hefner’s state/Moved to a new residence I never got lost“.
The track that Blu and Nottz fans were waiting for however was “Giant Steps“, which features Bishop Lamont, Torae, Skyzoo and DJ Revolution. The track feels immense as there is so much support from other rap talents and it feels like it is going to make it big. It’s simplistic, with a simple beat underneath to set the tempo of the track and the focus is truly on the artists rapping.
The track is a comment on the ‘giants’ who control the world and each rapper picks apart what is wrong with the system. There is to and fro between Torae and Skyzoo and Bishop goes in on the big guns that comment on the need for improvement on the streets but do nothing to resolve this. These rappers are giants in their own rights, and these are the steps they are making to taking over the world with their music. Blu and Nottz have risen from gods in their own eyes to titans in the flesh of their listeners.
Purchase Blu & Nottz Titans In The Flesh EP on iTunes here.
Words by Libby Beacham