On “Miles,” Blu & Exile Strengthen Their Chemistry and Revisit Their Roots

On “Dancing in the Rain,” from Blu & Exile’s 2007 debut album Below the Heavens, rapper Blu describes a symbolic act of defiance. He clocks out of work in a rainstorm and discovers that he’s short on bus fare. In response to this stroke of bad luck, he turns up his headphones, kicks off his shoes, and stomps gleefully in the puddles near the bus stop. This spirit—of a resilient working-class bluesman, navigating the ups and downs of everyday life—animates Below the Heavens, which today remains a pillar of backpack rap, a union of two dedicated classicists who weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel but ended up paving their own lane. On Miles: From An Interlude Called Life, their first full-length album in eight years, Blu & Exile stay true to their roots…

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