Jul 19, 2016

Review: Titans in the Flesh - Blu (@HerFavColor) & @NottzRaw; A Niles P. Joint

The best sequels are the ones that have the ability to function as standalone works.  Not gonna bury the lead here, this is what happens with Titans in the Flesh, the new EP from Blu & Nottz.  This is a sequel to their 2013 EP Gods in the Spirit.  Having not listened to that one, I was still able to enjoy the sequel.  Any time you can have one of the most prolific and best producers in the genre (Nottz) and a sometimes erratic but always talented underground legend (Blu) the result will always be good music at the end of the day.  While some fans bristled at the three year gap between projects, it was well worth the wait.

The dynamic duo hits the ground running with The Truth.  It’s apparent that Nottz’ signature church organs & basslines are a match made in heaven for Blu’s flow, especially with lines like “Jesús got some water, need some grape juice/ I bow my head and a crown fell out my slave roots.”  A soulful hook by Shateish brings it home.  The production on Heaven On Earth is among the most diverse with the previously mentioned organs, spacey synthesizers, a sampled hook, and snappy drums and shattering symbols.  Next up is a posse cut with an all star cast of guest emcees (Bishop Lamont, Torae, & Skyzoo.)  Each one takes turns teeing off on a beat that’s buoyed by sampled violins and cuts and scratches by DJ Revolution.  Everyone did well but Bishop Lamont impressed me the most (ironically he’s the emcee who I’m least familiar.)  

The album hits a snag in its tracklisting as they have two posse cuts in a row, which is a lot for a seven song EP.  This one is To The East and features Definite, TriState, Mickey Factz, & Johaz.  Let me be clear, everyone on the track has bars.  But this one’s guests are more obscure and oddly enough all sound like more established rappers.  Also puzzling is the fact that Blu isn’t even on this song.  The Man is better, as Blu returns with some bravado over guitars, cymbals, & a periodic trumpet.  Interestingly enough, he shares the mic with frequent production collaborators Exile & Nottz.  I didn't even know these producers rapped, but they do pretty well on the mic.  Atlantis is named after the mythical underwater continent and the production effectively has a bubbly and underwater vibe (I keep picturing one of those vintage sea monkey ads.)  The final track is a remix of the penultimate track by J57 that has more grandiose production with a matching chorus by vocalist Akie Bermiss.   Blu’s verses are the same and it’s a good remix, although I prefer the original.

EPs are tricky because at times they’ll give you a snack sized version of something you’d want more as an entree.  The greedy ass fan/consumer wishes that the dudes fleshed this out into an LP somehow.  It feels even shorter than its 26+ minute runtime by virtue of the back to back posse cuts and a remix following the original.  On a longer tracklist this could be spaced out a little more but here it feels more clogged with guests and whatnot.  Still, Nottz manages to bring out the best in Blu, who has occasionally been the target of the underground’s ire for whatever reason.  Titans in the Flesh is entertaining in spite of its issues and will give you something fun to listen to for the summer.  Just know that whenever Blu and Nottz decide to team up, the results will always be, well, titanic.


Rating: 4.1 out of 5.

Niles Cavanaugh
Niles Cavanaugh

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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