Jay Z’s stance on his only double album, The Blueprint 2: The Gift & The Curse, is “too many songs,” and the same applies to Blu’s Good To Be Home.
Similar to the title, the record’s first track, “Home,” is telling of a major theme, Blu’s time in Cali and ties to the western state; “I emerge for all my people who ain’t never seen the world like me/Still ain’t forgot where I’m from/Now, we back, like the prodigal son,” the one-time XXL Freshman (Class of 2009) spits to conclude the song’s second verse. Even so, the theme goes off course multiple times. Not counting vocalists, there are over 20 features on the album, showing Blu’s readiness to share center stage. “Boyz N The Hood” and “Whip Crème” are some of the posse cuts without a hook, the former being of higher quality thanks to finer features. Still, there are many posse cuts, frankly too many (“Red & Gold,” “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop,” “Bobby Brown” and so on), which end up muddling up the album’s cohesion as one questions whether this is a compilation album or a solo one.
In similar fashion, “The West, Part Two” is misleading, for it technically is a follow-up to “The West” but is merely an instrumental where Blu pulls a Cam’ron and takes a couple bars off to let the producer live. What’s more, “The West” is on the first disc and revolves around just that, the West, which is his home and thus fits the theme previously mentioned. The track illustrates how he spends his time at home and briefly alludes to his father in the first verse, so the follow-up was intriguing, especially since it is the very last song, heightening the disappointment.
For all that, one of the album’s standouts is “The Return,” a song where he contrasted making bangers with gangbanging, highlighting that despite the legality of how one earns his/her money, one can be, and many times in Cali actually is, subject to the same persecution. “I say my ni**a, when you victim to the system, it don’t matter what you do/They always fucking wit ya/So just bang.” Into the bargain, “Child Support” and “He Man” are other solid tracks too – the latter documents an intimate relationship that came to nothing due to expectations.
In brief, as proven by his discography, Blu is known to enjoy working with one producer for an entire project, à la the renowned LP Below The Heavens with Exile. For GBH, Blu linked up with fellow Californian Bombay, who is rather unknown but was able to put together an assortment of quality, soulful beats for Blu. Be that as it may, the album does not compare to Below The Heavens as the excess number of tracks and the lack of coherence, despite how long Blu and Bombay collaborated to assemble this LP, result in a middle-of-the-road project, regardless if the road is in the West or East.—Christopher Minaya