As he prepares to drop his first solo record since 2012’s Cannonball!!!, I caught up with FL-based emcee Bleubird to discuss his hometown and new LP, Lauderdale. Watch the video for “Keith Haringbone” above and continue reading for our Q&A as well as Bleubird’s track-by-track Lauderdale breakdown.
Brett Uddenberg: How do you feel growing up in Ft. Lauderdale shaped you as an artist and person?
Bleubird: It’s complicated, this place is a mindfuck. My feelings are a mixture of hate, love, fascination and contempt. It’s relaxed and fast paced at the same time. It’s both glamorous and gritty. I’ve swam with sharks and been zip tied at gunpoint in a home invasion. Most of the people here exist in a disgusting, culture-less void. It’s like the Jersey Shore with alligators. It’s made me quick on my feet and at ease with other cultures because I’ve grown up around so many different ones. In my youth I wandered the barren suburbs looking for shit to smash and good trees to jump into lakes from. We were skaters without skate parks. In high school I just wanted to fuck and make homemade bombs, and college was a joke. Music was the only thing I was ever really serious about. Nobody in my family was an artist… I don’t know where it came from. It was just a feeling I chased.
Where/when was Lauderdale recorded?
Lauderdale was recorded up in Lake Worth, FL at the Audio Architeks studio from around March – June of this year. Mister Belvedere and I were living in a warehouse with our studio in Ft. Lauderdale where a lot of these beats were conceived but the city shut us down and made us move out.
How did you conceive of the Young Lauderdale character/alias?
Young Lauderdale really started a few years ago when I started slanging beer at the Laser Wolf and the local paper (Broward New Times) voted me “Best Young Guy” in Ft. Lauderdale… no shit. At that time I was heavily involved in the scene, we had a crew called Black Locust Society that was throwing illegal warehouse parties complete with live shows, art galleries/installations, games, screen printing, pop-up shops… general shenanigans. We also had a monthly music event and were always playing shows around town. It was the first time a lot of us really started to feel pride for our city. It was kind of accepted that any forward-thinking person born here would move away to someplace better (like I did years before). Together we were trying to change that dynamic by forming a community that nurtured the collective talents, and just had a fuckload of fun while doing it. When that fell apart a few of us banded together to form the Death Jam Posse, which was a super fun and deadly Miami bass group where we all assumed alternative identities… naturally I became YOUNG LAUDERDALE.
Most of the people here exist in a disgusting, culture-less void. It’s like the Jersey Shore with alligators.
Do you want people to view this project as a Bleubird record, a Young Lauderdale record, or something entirely different?
Oh this is most definitely a BLEUBIRD record. I’ve come through the fire and been reborn. Full circle. All of the Death Jam and FTLiENS stuff has definitely affected the way I write and think about rap/music, but it’s still me 100%. Whereas that other stuff was more of a character with elements of myself peppered in, with this I dug (deep) to remain true to myself and what I’ve become. It’s just more indicative of my surroundings and where I come from.
How has your approach to recording changed over the years?
It used to be I was only focused on lyrics and production was just an accompaniment , but I got bored of the same old shit… nobody wants to hear anybody preach even if what they are saying is relevant. I learned to appreciate production and engineering and once I accepted that sometimes what dudes were saying was kinda stupid I opened up to all the subtle nuances in the styles… like A$AP Rocky isn’t the best rapper but he plays to his strengths and has his formula so completely dialed in that it sounds fucking amazing. So I took all this new information and processed it through my warped filters and tried to output something completely Florida that would appeal to a younger crowd while still holding on to a few of the older heads.
How long have you been back living in Florida?
I’ve lost track of time… maybe 4 years? I was in Montreal for two years then Berlin for one. I was only back for like 6-7 months before I started the Freeebird project and just lived on the road for almost another two years.
Any other projects aside from Lauderdale and FTLiENS coming out this year?
In January a label called Illuminated Paths released one of my very first recordings with the group Jerk Circuit on tape. I have some random singles in the works. Although Death Jam is dead for now, we still plan to drop the mixtape at some point… anything can happen.