Johnson Barnes III (Blu) & Aleksander Manfredi (Exile)
2007 - present
Hip-Hop, Alternative Hip-Hop
Sound in Color, Fat Beats, Dirty Science
MED, Madlib, Nottz, Emanon, Fashawn, Dag Savage, Johaz, Blame One, Co$$
Los Angeles, California
Blu & Exile+1
Blu & Exile are a hip-hop duo from Los Angeles, California, with Blu as the MC and Exile as the producer. The two met in the mid-2000s, when Blu was working as a hype man at shows for various soul and hip-hop artists, like Slum Village, Platinum Pied Pipers, and Exile’s own duo, Emanon.
Blu knew the MC of Emanon, who introduced the two. At the time, Blu was still trying to make a name for himself, while Exile had been credited on production for artists such as Jurassic 5 and Mobb Deep. After a couple of collaborations, the duo set out to make an album together, which would be the critically acclaimed album, Below The Heavens album.
Released in 2007, the project served as Blu's debut album and generated a considerable amount of buzz for both artists. PopMatters placed it at #56 in its “Best Albums of 2007” and HipHopDX included it in its "30 Best Underground Hip Hop Albums Since 2000" list in 2015.
It was also described as “one of 2007's most celebrated hip-hop releases" by XXL. In 2012, they released their next project, Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, and an EP in the same year. Their next project was released in 2017, titled, In The Beginning: Before The Heavens.