Over the years, Bladee has explored uncharted musical territories, crafted entirely unique flows and aesthetics, mastered them, then moved on to the next innovation. His tear-stained ballads on Eversince pushed the envelope for emotional dissonance in underground rap; his disyllabic flows on Working on Dying repeat in the back of my head all day long; and his blend of metallic production, hyper-specific mundane references, and cloudy auto-tuned singing make Red Light a Drain Gang masterpiece.
In the past eight weeks, Bladee has released three projects, each more concentrated, catchy, and experimental than the next. Exile dropped September 28, less than a week after the Plastic Surgery extended single came out, and a month and a half after Sunset In Silver City. All three projects are short, at just two or three tracks apiece, but each release stands on its own.
Exile is playful but linear. On “Trial,” Bladee uses gleaming falsetto snippets like percs, helping glue the track together. He abandons his typical references to trash bags and prom night to sing more broadly about identity. Whitearmor’s production is minimal and delicate, but dark too. The kicks, snares, vocals, and glitzy synth ornaments all act in conversation with one another.
On “Sentence,” Bladee wisely milks his hottest lines, turning them into pre-choruses, making it a sticky, indulgent ballad. The 808s lurch forward and squash the rest of the mix, which contrasts with the deep-set high-cut snares, ultimately yielding a rocking effect. He sings, “Just give me some time to get to know you” and then “I’m lying / I’m lying to myself.” “Sentence” is disoriented from start to finish, but subdued nevertheless. His trance-like repetition finds an unexpected home over spacious production. Somehow, it works.
Exile is the budding of the future for Bladee, and therefore underground rap as well. Listen down below.