The latest from San Francisco’s Bo Blitz, ‘Aries,’ is a reminder of not only some of the best hip hop had to offer back in the day when terms like “Bling Bling” and low rise jeans were a thing – but also where the genre is heading. With some 20 years and counting in the game, we talked to Bo about the evolution of hip hop from his perspective, what makes a song become a club staple, and more.
Kendra: People that tend to grow up with less than tend to have a hustle mentality throughout the rest of their life. I know I do, and after some 20 years in music – you seem to as well. Do you feel like if you’d grown up with a silver spoon you’d be where you are today?
Bo Blitz: I can’t say if I’d be in a different place had I grown up wealthy or with “a silver spoon.” It’s possible I could be further along in my career or have accomplished more by this time, but it’s also possible I may not be the same authentic artist I am today.
In terms of success, there’s a stronger chance that I may have more of an advantage in getting exposure, but I don’t think the relationship I developed with music and hip-hop would be quite the same as it now. I’ve seen examples where children of musicians have just about every opportunity and connection imaginable to have promising careers, but they end up falling short. Sometimes, it’s the circumstances we are in that help us discover our creativity, passion, and grit.
Kendra: Again, you’ve been in music for a long time and in that time you’ve gotten to see firsthand the evolution of rap and hip hop. What do you think has been the most significant change in the genre since you started?
Bo Blitz: The most significant change, as far as hip-hop goes, would have to be the emergence of trap music and rap lyrics. It has pretty much taken over the position placement held by hardcore gangster music, and it is used by major networks and corporate companies for profit. Also, I would have to say social media and digital music platforms have truly had a big impact on the way consumers access music and the discovery of independent artists.
Kendra: Your current LP, ‘Aries,’ draws a lot of inspiration from the hip hop that reigned supreme in the ‘00s, especially when it came to what was being played in the club scene. Were there any artists, experiences, or clubs in particular that you had in mind when writing and recording this record?
Bo Blitz: There wasn’t one particular artist, experience, or club vibe in mind, but rather the accumulation of all those ideas combined. There are specific parts in certain songs where I refer to a scenario that may have happened in the past, and in that same song, I refer to a different scenario that happened at a different time. But, when reminiscing on them together, it helps to paint the vision for the context of the song.
Kendra: When I pressed play on “Lay It Down” I was transported back to high school when I’d sing along to songs (very poorly because I am tone deaf and goofy as hell) on MTV and BET. It is a song I could hear taking over the clubs right now if we were able to have regular nights out. With that, what do you think the basis is for a “club banger?”
Bo Blitz: I know all my favorite club bangers have two things in common; a really good energetic beat and a super catchy repetitive hook or chant. The hook is usually telling you to do something or say something, which creates a call and response effect, allowing the listener to interact with the music.
Kendra: What I’ve always appreciated about hip hop is how clever the lyrics can be; the associations’ rappers make like when you deliver “on line like a operator” in “Holla Later.” For you, where do these associations come from when you write? Are you constantly making little notes on napkins to use later?
Bo Blitz: There was a point when I used to try and write down everything to remember it. I’ve gotten to the point now where I don’t need to write verses down. My brain is moving so fast when I’m thinking of lyrics, there is no way for my hand to keep up, so I just remember them until I can record them.
I may think of a catchy line and manipulate it 5 or 6 times within a matter of seconds to find the right effect and delivery I’m looking for. It takes more time and energy to write raps down and read them than it does to do in my head. When I get in the zone, I can think of lines in my sleep. It’s simply a matter of having my consciousness control the dream. I’ve come up with some of the best lines I’ve ever written though rapping in my sleep.
Kendra: Lastly, it’s hard to have a definite answer when it comes to future plans given the current state of everything, but as far as what you can control when it comes to your career and creativity – what do you have planned in the coming months for yourself?
Bo Blitz: In the coming months…Marketing, marketing, and more marketing. Expanding the brand is number one on the to-do list. Promotional campaigns, playlists, and sync deals are going to be a serious point of emphasis to help with my discovery. Music is the easy part, believe it or not. Being an artist, you know your true value. You know the quality of your talent. The tough part is grabbing and keeping the attention of a few people long enough for that to turn into an audience, then holding that audience long enough for it to turn into a following. Persistent effort and progress are on the menu for 2021.