Johnson&Jonson Johnson&Jonson

Johnson&Jonson Johnson&Jonson
Since the summer 2007 release of Below the Heavens, with producer Exile, Los Angeles MC Blu has established an impressive reputation as an artist who has pumped out a consistent stream of good, honest hip-hop. Propelled by a buzz established largely by word-of-mouth, the 24-year-old followed up that record with last April’s The Piece Talks, a collaborative effort with Detroit producer and MC Ta’Raach, released under the name C.R.A.C. Knuckles. For his third official project, Blu teamed up with producer Mainframe to create Johnson&Jonson, a 16-track LP that will firmly stamp the MC’s footprint into hip-hop’s landscape if there’s any hope left for it in today’s climate. While intended to be Blu’s "rap/swagger project,” the album, which once again showcases the MC’s easy, effortless flow over a bed of lush and soulful beats, still very much captures multiple facets of his personality, like his sense of humour (on "Go For The Gusto Room”) and depth (on the hidden bonus track). Other standout tracks include "Mama Always Told Me,” "Wow!” and "Bout It, Bout It.”

What do you feel are some of the biggest differences between Below the Heavens, The Piece Talks and Johnson&Jonson?
Blu: The biggest difference is that, to me, Below the Heavens is like journals — more personal. I would say C.R.A.C. was more energy and more out-of-the-box, especially with some of the newer editions to the C.R.A.C. record. They were inspired by a lot of rock and other genres: alternative, electro. Johnson&Jonson was just like, tapping in, going to work. And sonically, each of them is different. Exile is like the doctor. He goes in like a technician on the joint. He perfects the joints. He tries to go in real hard, which is dope. Ta’Raach is like, "Let’s do it. Let’s go. We ain’t got no time to waste.” "Buy Me Lunch” was 15 minutes. "Bullet Through Me” was like quick as hell. He made that beat in like 30 minutes. Mainframe, he has loops for days. That room, that studio, that vibe in Long Beach [where Johnson&Jonson was recorded] was just ill. Exile would come kick it over there, Ta’Raach would come kick it. I lived in that studio. I would wake up on that floor. It was like my home.

Tell me an interesting story about any one of the songs on the album.
Bo Bo is crazy. We did a song with Bo Bo. I met Bo Bo and he did the hook on "The [Go For The] Gusto Room” and he actually just did a freestyle over the whole song. We just edited the best parts. He didn’t even hear the song. We just said, "Talk about gambling.” We pressed play and he started going. We were like, "Hold on, we gotta record you.” He ended up doing seven other songs that night. It was one of the craziest sessions. He’s actually Dilla’s brother-in-law. He holds it down. He’s funny as hell. He’s the funniest boy I know. (Tres)