Miles: From an Interlude Called Life

by Blu & Exile

Released July 17, 2020 via Dirty Science Records

Reviewed August 10, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Miles Davis (22%), The Feeling (20%), The American Dream (18%)

After constructing one of the best underground hip-hop records of the 2000’s with Below the Heavens, both rapper Blu and producer Exile stayed relatively quiet. The duo only made one album in the 13 years separating Below the Heavens and Miles, but the chemistry is still effortlessly harvested even after such a substantial amount of time. On Miles, Exile pulls a swath of samples from jazz and orchestral artists such as Gary Bartz, Hugo Montenegro, and Ella Fitzgerald, contrasting the soul-adjacent styling of the duo’s previous works. At times, this smoother and less on the nose iteration of instrumentation provides a more naturally fitting setting for Blu’s lyricism than Exile’s former style. The combination of less structured production and a wider space for stream of thought rhymes is a new side of the duo that feels instinctual and artistically more rewarding for the current state of alternative hip-hop. A great return for a group capable of more than what they had initially let on. – Pax (8.1/10)

Anyone with a profound love for the arts can deeply admire the consequential impact over such sustained longevity found in the career of Miles Davis. Blu & Exile, who have achieved legendary and influential status in their own right, embrace the idea that suggests anyone making music today can trace some piece of themselves as artists to the inescapable influence of Miles Davis, with an album called Miles. In a lot of ways, Miles doesn’t miss a beat compared to the duo’s underground gamechanger, 2007’s Below the Heavens, as their individual skills and combined chemistry are very clearly intact. Blu remains one of the most dynamic and poetic emcees to ever breathe, while Exile once again displays the incredible versatility and emotional accuracy he is renowned for. The only downside of Miles is its runtime, which at times feels like a barrier to profound and complete enjoyment. Blu & Exile have easily earned the right to take a shot at a 95-minute epic, but it ends up being the one thing that weighs the album down some. – DeVán (7.5/10)

After many years, the beloved hip-hop duo of Blu & Exile has finally returned. Quietly transitioning from soul-oriented production to jazzier sets inspired by Miles Davis, their sound becomes a denser and more rhythmically dynamic take on sample based hip-hop. Growth, maturation, and wisdom immediately reveal themselves, especially in Blu's verses. In a valiant effort to document his entire existence, Miles becomes an expansive journey covering his roots, inspirations, heritage, and culture. A resounding success for the longtime tandem. – Enth (7.5/10)


Daniel: 9/10 | Cam: 8/10 | Enth: 7.5/10 | Dominick: 7.2/10 | DeVán: 7/10