In the mid-2000s, C.L. Smooth released two independent solo albums. The New Rochelle, New York MC had previously dropped three acclaimed projects with his partner Pete Rock and feature work with Johnny Gill and DJ Krush before cultivating his own catalog. In the last decade, The Mecca Don has chosen his spots to display an incredible voice and flow.
For 2023, those gifts present themselves on the new single, “The Golden Rule,” from Blu & Real Bad Man. The second single from the two entities’ upcoming album Bad News (September 1) is a cross-country collaboration that opens with Johnson Barnes, followed with a guest verse from Corey Penn.
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Blu flexes his wordplay about time, space, and nature over a Rock beat with drums, guitar, and ambient noise from a boxing match. In the second half, the beat breaks, allowing C.L. Smooth to play the role of the fighter. “Comin’ out to my favorite song with my hoodie on / Say less: we don’t get along, we gon’ get it on,” begins the buttery-voiced MC. “Listen here: you’ll be the next young fool I punish / If you ever think to come between me and how I flourish / I’m all about study — study film, study habits / So when it comes to that moment under the lights, I’ma smash it / And ya people know I’m not to be played with, I’m serious / Trippin’ if I need to be tested or curious.” The guest shot ends with a T.K.O. with 10-count.
Earlier this year, Blu & Exile announced that they acquired the masters to their 2007 gem, Below The Heavens. “Happy 16 year anniversary to our first album Below The Heavens,” Exile wrote last month on Instagram. “This anniversary is different, because for the past 16 years, the album was taken from us, and we haven’t been seeing a dime from it since our first small advance. But the 16th year is different, because we finally figured out how to get our baby back!”
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Previously, Real Bad Man & Blu released “Aladdin.”
#BonusBeat: A 2021 AFH‘sWhat’s The Headline podcast interview with Blu and Mickey Facts: