York (originally titled NoYork!) is the second studio album by American rapper Blu. The album was initially leaked during the Rock The Bells tour in August 2011,[6][7] and officially released in 2013.[8]

York
Blu-noyork.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 26, 2013
Recorded2010–11
Genre
Length59:00
LabelNew World Color
Producer
Blu chronology
j e s u s
(2011)
York
(2013)
Gods In the Spirit
(2013)
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic78/100[1]
Review scores
SourceRating
Allmusic3/5 stars[2]
Pitchfork Media8.1/10[3]
Popmatters9/10[4]
Rap Reviews6/10[5]

BackgroundEdit

Blu was still under contract with Warner Bros in 2011, but as the LA Times noted "the slashing collection of songs was nowhere near commercial enough to ever see major label release".[9] A few weeks later, Barnes was released from his Warner Bros. contract.[3] Later officially released through New World Color on March 26, 2013.[8][10] The album was also released as a vinyl 4-LP set with three additional songs, "Jazmine", "Jazzmen" and "Ronald Morgan".[11]

While Blu is the featured artist he was found to be "tapping a cadre of California instrumental hip-hop luminaries (...) of the Los Angeles beat scene".[3] Many of them featured at the Low End Theory music club.[4] These included the performers U-God, Jack Davey, Sa-Ra, Nola Darling, Cashus King, Suziana Lounge, Chop, Cherry Pop, Tiombe Lockhart, Exile, Jimetta Rose, Donel Smokes, Definite Mass, Dubble Oh, Niaa Andrews, Andy Allo, Edan, El Prez, Pac Div, Uni, J Davey, Tiron, & Ayomari.[11]

The artwork uses a photomontage by the Japanese artist Tsunehisa Kimura titled The City Welcomes a Fresh Morning, which depicts New York City being engulfed in a waterfall.[12]

Critical receptionEdit

Jeff Weiss of the LA Times described the leaked version as touching "upon soul, jazz and straight up boom-bap rap, with Blu alternately nostalgic and forward-minded. It's an album more sincerely strange than any of the more straightforwardly weird records that are all the rage".[9] David Amidon described this first release as "a sound that can’t currently be compared to any other vocal hip-hop album of measurable consequence, a decidedly original experience".[4] Craig Jenkins described the official release as "the physical document of that time a gifted rapper blew off a promising record deal to geek out in the studio with friends and then came out with one of the defining documents of his scene".[3]

Jason Lymangrover at allmusic.com was less enthusiastic and found that if the album "could be considered a success based solely on ambition, this would be a masterpiece, but as it stands, there are so many frills and guests clouding up the scenery that it’s hard to place Blu's voice among all the mess".[2] While Steve Juon of Rap Reviews warns that "Caution is advised - Blu's brand of hip-hop on this one's not for everybody".[5]

Track listingEdit

Standard Edition
No.TitleProducerLength
1."Doin' Nothin'" (featuring U-God)Flying Lotus2:41
2."Everything's OK" (featuring Jack Davey)Flying Lotus2:58
3."Everybody Nose" (featuring Sa-Ra & Nola Darling)Samiyam3:43
4."Above Crenshaw" (featuring Co$$)Samiyam4:04
5."SLNGBNGrs"Dibia$e2:59
6."Soupa" (featuring Suzi Analogue)Samiyam3:08
7."Hours"Daedelus3:58
8."Annie Hall" (featuring Chop, Brooker T & Tiombe Lockhart)Daedelus4:04
9."Tags" (featuring Exile)Exile3:21
10."Spring Winter Summer Fall" (featuring Jimetta Rose)Shafiq Husayn5:26
11."Down to Earth" (featuring Definite, Donel Smokes & Dubble Oh)Shafiq Husayn3:20
12."My Sunshine" (featuring Nia Andrews)Shafiq Husayn3:27
13."Keep Pushinn"Knxwledge3:09
14."Doin' Something" (featuring El Prez, Pac Div, U-N-I, J*Davey, Tiron & Ayomari)Flying Lotus6:03

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "NoYork! Reviews". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2013-06-16.
  2. ^ a b Allmusic review
  3. ^ a b c d Jenkins, Craig. "Blu: NoYork! | Album Reviews". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  4. ^ a b c Amidon, David (February 16, 2012). "Blu: NoYork!". Popmatters. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  5. ^ a b Juon, Steve (April 23, 2013). "Blu: York!". Rap Reviews. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  6. ^ "Blu Gives NoYork to the People for Free". The Smoking Section. UPROXX. August 23, 2011. Retrieved March 14, 2013.
  7. ^ "Blu (2) - NoYork! (2011 version)". Discogs. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  8. ^ a b "Blu (2) - NoYork! (2013 CD)". Discogs. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  9. ^ a b Weiss, Jeff (September 13, 2011). "The jagged Low End rap of Blu's 'NoYork!' mixtape". Pop & Hiss. LA Times. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  10. ^ "iTunes - Music - York by Blu". Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Blu (2) - NoYork! (4LP version)". Discogs. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  12. ^ Coulthart, John (November 4, 2010). "Design as virus 13: Tsunehisa Kimura". { feuilleton }. Retrieved 2015-11-18. The composition has been used for a number of albums, including Zonoscope and Site Anubis