Blame One - Days Chasing Days
With top-notch production and just the right amount of A-list, underground features, Days Chasing Days serves as an excellent intro for those not familiar with the San Diego emcee
Blame One is the rare emcee who can provide an eerie Six Degrees of Separation type of link between the late Dilla and MC Hammer. So while this is his fourth album, even the most knowledgeable underground enthusiast can be for given for not being able to pick him out of a lineup. After balancing his rap career with regular nine to five gigs such as analyzing how much traffic MC Hammer's Cash4Gold ad [click to read] brings in, Days Chasing Days marks Blame's most high-profile solo offering.
Blame One sounds exactly like what he is, a local emcee made good, whose skills make working a nine to five an option instead of a necessity. He strikes a nice balance between ignorance, excellence and intelligence while sticking close to what has worked for him throughout the years. Guests such as Sean Price, Black Milk, Blu and Aloe Blacc assist, but Blame is still able to impose his own identity on the album.
Lyrically, Blame One rarely strays from traditional underground themes--stream of consciousness bars, criticism of wack emcees, explaining his own vices and the obligatory "back in the days" tribute. This works for listeners who, like Blame, are at or over the 30-year-old marker. And, with some active listening and the occasional Google search, there's no reason these topics shouldn't appeal to younger listeners also.
As an executive producer, Exile continues his knack for helping his underground peers get mainstream recognition by delivering a bevy of dusty loops and chunky basslines. Contributions from the beatsmits who aren't yet household names, such as Black Sparx, Rath Khy and Blu on "Wonder Why" [click to listen], are blended in seamlessly to make the album sound like one, cohesive work. Blame One proves equally adept at riding a soulful Black Milk backdrop ("Perseverance") or Exile's more up-tempo, breakbeat inspired offerings ("Street Astrologist").
At times Blame's message sounds heavy-handed, but on the whole he spends more time providing an alternative to mainstream ignorance instead of constantly criticizing it. Blame can seamlessly transition between talking about drinking himself sick to Nas' "The World As Yours" and his love of graffiti writing. Balancing these types of bars further his cause much better than his social commentary, which occasionally gets excessive throughout the album's 15 tracks.
With three other albums under his belt, Blame's fans more or less know what to expect by now. But with top-notch production and just the right amount of A-list, underground features, Days Chasing Days serves as an excellent intro for those not familiar with the San Diego emcee.