Two of hip hop’s most talented and enigmatic artists, Los Angeles emcees Fatlip (The Pharcyde) and Blu(Blu & Exile), have linked for a hotly anticipated collaborative LP Live From the End of the World Vol. 1, (Demos), out April 1 via Los Angeles/Tokyo-based label Guilty By Association (GBA). Having already teased two singles — last month’s Madlib-produced, ode to golden age West Coast hip hop “Gangsta Rap” + “Good For The Soul,” featuring Hemlock Ernst, (Future Islands’ Samuel T. Herring) and produced by GBA’s founder Christopher Shaw — now have shared a new, extended version of “Good For The Soul” adding a fresh verse from Ras Kass and a pair of remixes by Nottz & STLNDRMS.
The album was executively produced by Shaw, having first met Fatlip backstage at Coachella where he was a backup dancer for Spike Jonze’s little brother, Sam Spiegel. Following an impromptu jam session with musicians from the music house Shaw was a part of, and a lot of talking, patience, and sessions with Fatlip (who’d declared, “No more rapping”) “Good For The Soul” emerged. It only approached its final form after Shaw brought in Blu, eager to collaborate with his idol. Live From the End of the World Vol. 1, (Demos) then, offers a chance for fans to hear rare new material from Fatlip, as he and the ever-prolific Blu surround themselves with hip hop vanguards like Knxwledge, Madlib, Del the Funky Homosapien, Gift of Gab, Chali 2na, Exile, Slimkid3 and more.
Further anchoring Shaw’s personal connection to the album, the art used across the project comes from a series of paintings by Harold Anton (1905-1979), a pioneering abstract expressionist artist from New York, who also happens to be his grandfather-in-law. Anton championed the idea of art as a way to escape orthodoxy — whatever form it may take. He represented the original bohemian, in not just his art practice, but his approach to life, at the forefront of what was to become the first major counterculture movement in America.