Bless 1â€™s mixtape debut, â€œStarving Artist,â€ is nothing short of brilliant. In fact, itâ€™s barely a mixtape. Original beats exclusively, I think, by French producer, Rythm From Art), no toss-offs or dis rhymes, and a cohesive message of positivity and intelligence. These are not true even of the best mixtapes. Itâ€™s much more like an album that is in desperate need of a label distributor.
Much of the album is rated PGâ€”thereâ€™s little offensive language or content. Instead of relying on curses and gory tales to shock his listeners, Bless 1 actually has a point of view (like fellow Chicagoan Lupe Fiascoâ€™s first album, e.g.). His album is a search for faith and meaning in a disturbing world, as he sings on â€œThe Hunger,â€ in which he â€œsearch[es] the Bible for similarities to my daily tests,â€ while telling tales of street sales (â€œThey say the goons carry heavy in June/Making the block boil like a heroine spoonâ€).
If thereâ€™s any problem with the album, it is that itâ€™s a little too distant. Bless 1 never tries to let us get to know him, preferring philosophy to personal facts. But this is a minor point, and is somewhat refreshing, given the genreâ€™s propensity towards braggadachio and grime. In a format usually dedicated solely to personality, itâ€™s interesting to find a rapper more inclined to generalities. Kind of like Pink Floyd, who were part of the movement that introduced vague, heady, conceptual discussions about the purpose of existence into a world dominated by songs of heartache and revolution.
Cop the mixtape from Datpiff free, here.
Or get it from sendspace, here.