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Is James Blake the New Cherub of Hip-Hop?

James Blake has continued his ascendancy into the hip-hop community by revisiting ‘Life Round Here’ with a remix featuring buzz rapper of the month, Chance The Rapper. The track debuted on BBC Radio 1 last night and has invoked a collective circlejerking over the one time prince of dubstep. Just like HudMo earned adoration from Yeezy and a subsequent deal with G.O.O.D. Music, Yung Blake is finding himself amid collaborations with the games big hitters, or splitters if your name is Danny Brown.

Here’s an #awkz photo of Blakey driving his new rap buddy around in a low rider. (Chance, why you riding shotgun bro?)


But this isn’t the first time JvmesBlvkePurrp has been caught schmoozing up to hip-hop’s finest, he has actually been slowly infiltrating the 808-ridden walls for quite some time. Working under a Harmonimix alias, Lil’ James released a host of remixes including Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne and Outkast. And guess what? They sound pretty darn good:

Then, at Drake’s OVO festival in Toronto last month, 2Blakez was invited as a co-headliner on a line-up full of billboard topping rappers, and as the only electronic artist to perform. Despite being a last minute replacement for Frank Ocean, the recruitment of The Notorious B.L.K. shows his high profile within the genre. I mean, filling in for Frank Ocean is kind of a big deal, amirite? Still, it’s no surprise that wet-as-they-come Drake is inclined to listen to a bit of bed-wetting wailing.

But Heartbreak Drake isn’t his only fan. Earlier this year, RZA jumped on stage to join Blake during his set at Coachella, with the two performing ‘Take A Fall For Me’:

So why is it that a skinny jeaned Londoner has got a collection of rappers forming an orderly queue (behind the hipster bbz, obviously) for a hot sec with the man himself? Well, it is probably because his abstract production is perfectly suited to the genre – kicks, hi hats, it’s all there. On top of that, Chief Blake has been applying crooning, almost soulful vocals to his own production for two albums now, and the transition to hip-hop has seamless potential. Take a listen to his CMYK EP and the influence is obvious, it is practically beat orientated electronic music tinged by an awkward ‘post dubstep’ stage.

Whether it is team ups with Chance or slowly developing a hip-hop ready style, it is obvious why the community is jumping on the Blake train, and why shouldn’t they be? If that means we get to hear more collaborations like ‘Life Round Here’, A$AP Jim being the new found cherub of Hip-Hop is definitely a good thing.

- James Embiricos

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