New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
GRAMMY-nominated musician, producer and engineer Josh Blake
is proud to announce the pre order for his forthcoming record, Unemployment Benefits, out next Tuesday, October 27. Today, JamBase premiered the video for the track "Benefits," featuring GRAMMY-winning emcee Agent 23 and animated by Derrick Lee Johnson of Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band.
On his latest collection, Blake-an Asheville, North Carolina mainstay and founding member of the celebrated live hip-hop outfit Granola Funk Express-taps into his old school roots to present a mixtape-style collection that draws on the pandemic-induced angst he and so many others have experienced since the music industry first shut down in March.
"Like many people, I found myself stuck at home with a lot of extra downtime, and eventually I set the goal to make a beat a day. Originally I just wanted to make a simple beat tape to put out-something that people could listen to as background music-but as the process moved along, I realized that these tracks deserved to be fully-actualized. That's when I began reaching out to various emcees I had worked with over the years to see if they wanted to throw some rhymes on these beats."
In the spirit of collaboration, Blake
enlisted a slew of musical colleagues including local heroes Spaceman Jones, Simon Thomas George
(Marcus King Band), C. Shreve The Professor (Free The Optimus), Jamar Woods (The Fritz), and fellow GFE contributors Agent 23, Foulmouth Jerk and Adam Strange. He also included some non-Asheville based collaborators such as Johnny Durkin (Deep Banana Blackout), 5 time MTV Blaze Battle Champion
Breeze Evahflowin and more. To adhere to social distancing, Blake
asked everyone to track their respective parts remotely, pulling all the parts together over his beats afterwards. The result is an eclectic troupe that equally captures universal sentiments surrounding current global unrest, as well as deeply personal accounts from each participating artist. The album title "Unemployment Benefits" is both a sardonic nod to the times and a celebration of the silver linings that have come from the pandemic. Without disregarding the repercussions of the touring industry collapse, Blake
still recognizes that "this project is a direct benefit of me and all the contributors having less gigs and work in general."
Stuffed with social and political commentary, Unemployment Benefits is as much a product of circumstance as it is a beckon for hope. While much of the project highlights widespread trepidations surrounding the current state of affairs, Blake
remains confident that the forthcoming record will also serve as a musical solace from the turbulent conditions.
"I think people who are fans of old school hip-hop will really appreciate the dichotomy between what I'm putting out here and what is currently popular in that genre."
A 30-year music industry veteran, Blake
is already thinking about Unemployment Benefits Volume II.
"I hope that this is the first of potentially several installments. There are definitely some folks that I sent beats to that didn't have their tracks done in time to make this particular album. No worries there though, producing beats and creating with friends are some of my favorite things to do musically, so I'm sure I'll keep pushing collaborative albums like this one out for many years to come."
Unemployment Benefits is available for pre order now on Bandcamp, and will be released to digital and streaming platforms on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. All pre orders will come with an instant gratification download of the single "Benefits." For more information, visit www.joshblakemusic.com