Album: Blu and Exile – In The Beginning: Before The Heavens

The Critically Acclaimed Duo Shares An Album’s Worth of Flawless Bonus Tracks From the Sessions for Their 2007 Underground Classic Below The Heavens


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 Album:

Emerging from a fertile Los Angeles underground scene in 2007, Blu and Exile’s Below The Heavenswas an instant cult classic, showcasing Blu’s incisive and thoughtful bars over Exile’s dusty-yet-beautiful soul-sampling instrumentals. Ten years later, Blu & Exile share In The Beginning: Before The Heavens, a new collection of unearthed gems from the original Below The Heavens sessions. Though these tracks did not make the final Below The Heavens, they are not B-sides or Bonus tracks. They feature Blu at the top of his game, with Blu dishing about the perils of stardom on “Constellations,” the stale nature of Hip-Hop airplay on “On The Radio,” and confronting his mortality on “You’re Gonna Die Someday.” Not to be outshined, the tape features some of Exile’s best beats, showcasing the breadth of his crate-digging prowess with boom-bap bursts of sunshine. Premiered with an interview by BillboardIn The Beginning: Before The Heavens is a rare time capsule that sounds just as fresh now as in 2007, providing manna for fans of underground hip-hop on both coasts. Featuring appearances from Aloe Blacc, Co$$, Donel Smokes, Blame One, Dr. Oop, and more, In The Beginning: Before The Heavens arrives via Dirty Science/Fat Beats.

Exile highlights some of the project’s best tracks: “‘On the Radio’ is a song that Blu made that we used to laugh about, but listening now it’s dope. ‘You’re Gonna Die Someday’ is actually me rapping and Blu singing the hook. ‘Hot for Y’all’ is how Blu could have done some Roc-A-Fella vibe type shit, featuring the homie Donel Smokes. ‘Hard Worker’ featuring Blame One is some raw hip-hop shit. ‘Sold The Soul’ is a song, a really dope poem Blu did and he sings on it, it’s amazing. And ‘Stress Off the Chest’ is some train of thought, Blu spazzing and rapping type shit.”

With his fluid 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 widespread acclaim from critics 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. In 2017, the duo reunited for the nationwide headlining Below The Heavens 10th Anniversary tour. 

“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.”

Listen to In The Beginning: Before The Heavens:


Buy a physical copy of In The Beginning: Before The Heavens

Check out the Billboard premiere:

In The Beginning: Before The Heavens tracklist
01 Soul Provider
02 Another Day
03 Constellations
04 All These Ladies featuring Dr Oop
05 Party Of Two
06 Back To Basic’s
07 On The Radio
08 You’re Gonna Die Someday
09 Life Is A Gamble featuring Donel Smokes, Trek Life & Co$$
10 Things We Say featuring Aloe Blacc
11 Hot For Yall featuring Donel Smokes
12 Hard Workers featuring Blame One
13 Sold The Soul
14 Stress Off The Chest

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

In The Beginning: Before The Heavens // //

“On The Radio”:

“Back To Basic’s”:


Below The Heavens

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