Song: Blu and Exile – “Back To Basic’s”

XXL Premieres New Single From In The Beginning: Before The Heavens, a Prequel to Their 2007 Underground Classic, Releasing October 20th


Critical Praise

“The contemplative beauty of Exile’s beats fits Blu’s soul-searching perfectly on Below the Heavens.” Pitchfork

“Blu and Exile’s Underground Classic Below the Heavens Changed West Coast Hip-Hop” – L.A. Weekly

“[Below The Heavens’] timeless production, raw vulnerability, and obscure mythology make the 2007 album a quiet classic.” – Noisey

The Announcement:

Ten years ago, Blu and Exile released Below The Heavens, a contemplative, confident, and wistful masterpiece beloved by critics and embraced by the West Coast underground as an instant classic. On October 20th, Blu and Exile will release In The Beginning: Before The Heavens, a follow-up and companion piece to the classic record, via Dirty Science/Fat Beats. Comprised of unreleased tracks from the original Below The Heavens sessions, In The Beginning: Before The Heavens features appearances from Aloe Blacc, Co$$, Donel Smokes, Blame One, and more. Today, Blu and Exile are gearing fans up for the release with new single Back To Basic’s.”

“‘Back To Basic’s’ was a dedication to my homie Basic,” Blu tells XXL, who premiered the track. “I would go to his crib in high school to freestyle and beg him to bring me to the Wake Up Show, cause he worked there. He never did, haha. But I would always go back to Basic’s.”

With his fluid, incisive rhyming style and his intellectual lyrics, L.A. rapper Blu found his ideal aesthetic match in the soulful beats of crate-digging producer/DJ Exile. Released in Summer 2007, Below The Heavens received rave reviews from tastemakers and appeared on many year-end best-of lists. The momentum from Below The Heavens led to Blu’s signing to Warner Bros. Records, and propelled the young rapper onto the 2009 XXL Freshman List alongside B.o.B, Kid Cudi, and Wale. In 2012, Blu and Exile reunited for Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Themexpanding the palette of Below The Heavens and showcasing Blu’s multi-syllabic dexterity.

“We planted the seeds of creativity and grew about 40 plants,” Exile says of In The Beginning: Before The Heavens. “We picked the ones that we thought were the best for an album, but that didn’t mean that the other flowers weren’t beautiful. I’m super happy to re-release [In The Beginning] to people and have it actually get some attention that it definitely deserves. It’s amazing.” Stay tuned for In The Beginning: Before The Heavens, releasing October 20th.

Listen to “Back To Basic’s”:

Check out the XXL premiere:

Pre-order In The Beginning: Before The Heavens

Pre-order a physical copy of In The Beginning: Before The Heavens


Please contact Michelle or Isabel for more info.

The Background

In 2007, the same year that Kanye vs. 50 Cent in an album sales battle dominated headlines in the mainstream, Blu and Exile were carving their own path with an instant classic. The rapper and DJ/producer duo released Below the Heavens: In Hell Happy With Your New Imaginary Friend on July 17. Featuring soul-infused production with the raw vulnerability of Blu’s rhymes, the album began to receive rave reviews by hip-hop tastemakers and underground enthusiasts. In a review penned by 2DopeBoys’ Shake for HipHopDX, he gave it a 4/5 and noted that Blu is an “an extremely talented lyricist; clever rhymes, technically sound, intensely personal and witty.” Below the Heavens impacted everyone in some way, as it would later end up on many critics’ year-end lists from all over the internet.

2017 marks the 10-year anniversary of Below the Heavens. One of the interesting tidbits about the album is Blu and Exile made over 40 songs, with only 15 of them making the final cut. Now, the duo is reuniting for their third release, In the Beginning: Before the Heavens, a collection of the best tracks from the original sessions. “I’m super happy to re-release it to people and have it actually get some attention that it definitely deserves,” Exile says. “It’s amazing.”


Blu: twitter | tumblr | bandcamp | instagram | spotify

Exile: official site | twitter | instagram | facebook | spotify

“Back To Basic’s”:


Pre-order In The Beginning: Before The Heavens

Below The Heavens

Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them:…my-flowers-while-i-can-still-smell-them…/id1021444977