Bless 1’s mixtape debut, “Starving Artist,” is nothing short of brilliant. In fact, it’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. It’s much more like an album that is in desperate need of a label distributor.
Much of the album is rated PG—there’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 Fiasco’s first album, e.g.). His album is a search for faith and meaning in a disturbing world, as he sings on “The Hunger,” in which he “search[es] the Bible for similarities to my daily tests,” while telling tales of street sales (“They say the goons carry heavy in June/Making the block boil like a heroine spoon”).
If there’s any problem with the album, it is that it’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 genre’s propensity towards braggadachio and grime. In a format usually dedicated solely to personality, it’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.
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A Place in the Sun feat. Infini.