On the morning of April 20th I woke up to an exciting e-mail! Once a year, at least one e-mail like it arrives. The e-mail announced a new project by one of the longest standing and most prolific underground hip-hop artists, Blueprint.
This time, the project had a surprise. There’s a special guest…Aesop Rock! Also, in what might be the most stunning turn of events, Aesop won’t be supplying a majority of the rhymes and instead serves as the project’s producer.
The EP is entitled “Vigilante Genesis”, and will feature Blueprint’s vocals over Aesop Rock’s beats. Along with this deviation from what is musically expected, Vigilante Genesis will be the first story concept-driven album Blueprint has delivered. The website of Blueprint’s label, Weightless Recordings, describes the mini-album as “a story that is as engaging and moving as any television mini-series or graphic novel.”
A story album seems to fit the temperaments of both artists; Blueprint shines when he delivers narratives like his feature on “Up in the Clouds”, from RJD2’s 2016 release, Dame Fortune. Aesop has always had a mind for creating stories in unexpected ways. His voice may not be a major contributing factor to the story, but hopefully his influence permeates the core of the album.
The two indie rap stalwarts are no strangers to collaborative projects. Along with a few one-offs together through Rhymesayers Entertainment connections, Aesop has recently had a string of successful collaborations with: Homeboy Sandman, Rob Sonic, and Kimya Dawson. Blueprint has worked extensively in groups with RJD2 and Illogic. Finally, nearly 15 years after Blueprint’s appearance on Aesop’s Daylight EP, the two are finally producing a full project together.
Traditionally, Blueprint has been known more for his production prowess than for his technique and skill as an emcee. Aesop found fame with his fast delivery and creative vocabulary; although he has self-produced much of his own work as well as many of his collaborations. He isn’t as well known for his production. Whether this risk pays off and delivers a unique new sound remains to be seen, but both artists have succeeded when they’ve stepped outside of their comfort zones. It should allow the two rapper/producers to more effectively focus on their own piece of the project.
Whatever your feelings about the unexpected “duty-splitting” on Vigilante Genesis, it is exciting to know that this duo of consistent and super hard-working artists are back together once again. You can pre-order the EP now at weightless.net and watch the video below to hear Blueprint briefly discuss the album.
photo credit: Weightless.net