In 2007, Blu and Exile came together to create what is now hailed as an underground classic Below The Heavens. 10 years later, the rapper-producer dup behind the beloved West Coast album have shared a companion piece called In the Beginning: Before the Heavens. The project collects unreleased tracks from the sessions that led to their magnum opus. "Below the Heavens was about being underground, while comparing mainstream success to living in heaven,” Blu said in an interview with Billboard. "This is before that. The only thing that happened before God made the heavens and Earth [is God] says, ‘In The Beginning,’ so this is like the training wheels." The album was narrowed down to the best out of 40 tracks left on the cutting room floor. "Sometimes you have to get rid of classic songs to make a classic album," says Exile of the initial process. "I want Before the Heavens to be like a documentary, so to speak, to show the work we put into making the classic Below the Heavens."
As far as why Blu and Exile decided to unearth these raw tracks, it's simply what the people wanted. "Well, Below the Heavens is the highest-selling and most sought-after release in my collection since it was made," said Blu. "It was natural for us to decide to give the fans more music directly from that era. They are always asking us for new material at the same time, wishing we made more music similar to our first collaboration, so here you go!"
Blu and Exile released their official follow-up to Below The Heavens, titled Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, in 2012. The new project features guest appearances from Aloe Blacc, Donel Smokes, Trek Life, Cashus King (f.k.a. Co$$), Blame One, Dr. Oop, and Lyric Jones.
1. Soul Provider
2. Another Day
3. Constellations f. Lyric Jones
4. All These Ladies f. Dr. Oop
5. Party Of Two
6. Back To Basics
7. On The Radio
8. You’re Gonna Die Someday
9. Life Is A Gamble f. Donell Smokes, Trek Life and Co$$
10. Things We Say f. Aloe Blacc
11. Hot For Yall f. Donell Smokes
12. Hard Workers f. Blame One
13. Sold The Soul
14. Stress Off The Chest