Blueprint - Adventures in Counter-Culture
Record Label: Rhymesayers Entertainment
Release Date: April 5, 2011
When the topic of underground hip-hop artists is brought up, there are always a few artists that seem to be overlooked. For whatever reason, Blueprint falls into that category way too often. This competent rapper-producer from Columbus has built up an incredible discography over the years, solo as well as part of groups such as Greenhouse Effect with Illogic and Soul Position with RJD2, and flexes both sides of his artistry with each and every release. This is showcased most perfectly on his latest release, an ambient trip through Blueprint's thoughts on society, the music industry, and what kind of future both can look forward to.
On Adventures in Counter-Culture, Blueprint seems to have embraced a more sci-fi, electronic sound that pops up every now and then within the album's production, mixing with his typical funk-influenced beats in a very creative way. The first actual song on the album, “Go Hard or Go Home,” opens with a repeating radar sound effect that makes its presence known throughout the beginning of the song until Blueprint himself begins to rhyme. His flow is reserved, but the lyrics are anything but. Urging up-and-coming artists to push and push until they reach the apex, Blueprint combines personal experiences with a no-nonsense approach to making music that's impressive, especially in today's scene.
“Mind, Body & Soul” continues this trend with help from vocalist Angelica Lee, whose voice is modulated ever so slightly to match the robotic backing vocals. Blueprint's lyrics detail his love for music and all it's given him over the years. Each word is feels trustworthy and heartfelt, and it's readily apparent that music is truly Blueprint's mind, body, and soul.
Adventures also showcases Blueprint's competent vocals, especially in the single “So Alive.” While it would be a stretch to call this track a hip-hop song, it fits perfectly on the album and forms a strong starting point for the second half. Driven by simple claps, rocking drum rolls, and a surprisingly straight-forward guitar riff, “So Alive” is one the best examples of Blueprint's evolution on his latest release, and proves that his talents are as abundant as any artist in the game today. “Stole Our Yesterday” is an even better look, as Blueprint croons emotionally about constantly losing time in our lives without any way to stop it. While only the choruses feature his vocals, they form a nice segue between the intense verses and lyrics.
One of Adventures' best features is the continual flow of highlights. It would be hard to choose even a single track to skip out of the fifteen, as each showcases another side of Blueprint's huge repertoire of influences. “Radio-Inactive” is a rousing anthem from Blueprint to the fans that have stuck with him over the years, and features some of the best lines of the whole album. “Keep Bouncing” stays true to its name, jumping and rollicking from both the distorted production and Blueprint's matching cascade of lyricism. “Automatic” is carried by a garbled, calliope beat as well as Blueprint's look into the future. He details how others may be worried about how fast he's grown as an artist, and it's hard to deny that. In Adventures he's crafted a bevy of unforgettable tracks that will appeal to a wider audience without ostracizing older fans of his underground work.
Adventures in Counter-Culture is a definite expansion of Blueprint's talents. Each and every track shows marked improvement in both his flow and production skills. He's as lyrically sound as he's ever been, but the rapid fashion with which the other facets of his creative process have caught up is nothing less than remarkable. Although it clocks in at just a bit more than an hour in length, every playthrough seems to end too soon, and I've found it incredibly easy to jump to the beginning again for another pass. With Adventures, Blueprint has crafted one of his most monumental achievements, and one can only hope it catapults him from the depths of overlooked underground artist to the front of the pack when the next discussion arises.
The album is phenomenal and he doesnt bullshit in his music. Saw him live about 2 weeks ago and he sold all the merch by himself, packed up by himself, did it all himself. i gained a lot of respect for the guy.