Blaqbonez struck gold in 2018. The burgeoning rap sensation has been tirelessly putting in work ever since the release of his mixtape “HipHop In Blaq” in 2013. His admirable work ethic is exemplified in the fact that hardly has a year gone by without him releasing a body of work. However, despite the quality of these releases, they were not enough to shed him off the “underground rapper” tag for a while. But last year, things turned around.
His debut album “Bad Boy Blaq“, backed by 100 Crowns and Chocolate City propelled him into mainstream attention. The final project of the game-changing 2018 LAMB August rollout is an experimental and deeply fascinating “Bad Boy Blaq” which gave Blaqbonez the mainstream acceptance and recognition that have seemed to elude him for years. With the album, he established a foothold in the industry as one of the most talented rap artist rising through the ranks.
Now, barely five months after the release of the breakout album, Blaqbonez has treated us to a follow-up project titled the “Bad Boy Blaq Re-UP.” And as the title implies, this project is built on the successes of its immediate predecessor.
“It is not a Part II. It was just due to the fact that we did a lot with the original project, it almost got there but there was like a little bit extra we could do to get it over the line, which is why I worked on the re-up.” He explains in an interview with Pulse.
Ever since the release of the last album, Blaqbonez has continued to maintain a high level of fan-engagement on social media with tweets, hilarious video clips and hot takes on trending issues. As a result, Blaqbonez can boast of one of the most organic, dedicated, and ever-growing cult-following among the young acts today and perhaps the best for hip-hop at the moment.
Blaqbonez may not be popping as much on the streets, mans is pulling quite impressive numbers on the streaming platforms. And now, the release of the Re-Up seems to be Blaq’s latest strategy at maintaining and optimizing his audience retention especially given the short attention span albums are given these days.
The Re-up contains a hazy mix of fresh cuts and remixes of some of the Bad Boy Blaq‘s standout records. Blaqbonez enlists the efforts of an all-star cast of young gifted acts who help to provide several moments of brilliance on the project and also helping the remixed cuts to have a refreshing feel.
The project is arranged in such a way that the remixes off “Bad Boy Blaq”, come right in between the new songs. This provides a sense of familiarity while listening to the project such that it’s new but doesn’t feel so new. However, the remixes maintain the order by which they appear on the album.
All but two tracks feature guest verses. On the opener and the final track of the project which also happen to be the most personal cuts on the project, Blaq is a lone ranger, brings it all to bear on both tracks. Both are polar opposites reflecting two different sides of the now pink-haired rapper. On the achingly personal cut, ‘No Longer Stupid‘, Blaq is introspective, apologetic and appreciative all in the same breath. Through a reminiscent style of detailing, he recognises how far he has come in the industry and acknowledges the naive mistakes he made on the come up. Acknowledging his growth in several factors, Blaqbonez also appreciates some of those who helped set him straight and those who still showed him loved despite him doing them wrong.
However, on the flip side, ‘Bxtch’ finds a stone-faced Blaq coming all out at his prior detractors and doubters. On the second verse, he had some not-so-subtle jabs for who many have perceived to be Yung6ix. Although he does not name-drop the rapper, with lines like Somebody stole your lines, okay/Somebody stole your shine, I did it/ Guess Somebody stole your balls/Cos you ain had the guts to try be specific he might as well have as all fingers point to Yung6ix following his reaction to the LAMB Martell Cypher.
Another side of Blaqbonez, the comical and playful one that is hard to miss on his social media pages these days comes to bear on the track ‘Good Boy’. On the tongue-in-cheek anthem for the “nice” guys, Blaq makes up for his limited signing talents by recruiting the efforts of BOJ and CKay who didn’t fail to deliver intoxicating performances. Despite his voice sounding raspy, Blaq also delivers an infectious sing-along chorus that makes record one of the standouts of the project. The playful Blaqbonez also shows up in brief moments in tracks like Denied and Play Remix.
Blaqbonez has come a long way. It’s undeniable that Blaqbonez raw talents are fast being forged into shining diamonds. He has proven himself time and again as one of the most talented and promising rap artists rising the ranks with a solid and enviable fanbase and this tape is a solid addition to his catalogue. In fact, he is just a hit single short of being a household name.
The “Re-up” might have been birthed from “Bad boy Blaq“, but it breathes a life of its own. The short and sweet project is a showcase of his level of talent and versatility and also a promise of better things to come.