Controversial and eccentric, San Antonio hip-hop artist Blues dares to be different, continuing his rise up the ladder of hip-hop's expanding consciousness. We recently met up to discuss his most recent release, Creole, how not being a tough guy has its advantages and never judging a book by its cover.
With Creole, the SA rapper looks to carve his niche out in the game and paint the city Blues.
Take in Blues' video for "On The Acid" and give yourself a little perspective about the man and his style.
First off, where in SA are you from?
I’m from here. I’m from Dellcrest, on the South East side. That’s like my hood, I’m still there to this day.
How has your hood embraced you, and your music?
Well, I mean… everybody knows me. I grew up there, so it’s been cool. At first it was kinda weird because people didn’t know how I was coming with it. What I’ve done was make sure I name-dropped some of the local-owned businesses, like the Chatman’s over there. I shot my first video, “Plug,” at a little fish factory, which is another local-owned business over there that my family knows.
How long have you been making music?
Man, it’s been three years this January, I’ve been working with my one engineer Saint. He’s pretty tight, he’s like my close homie.
So, why music? Were you into sports or anything?
I’ve always had a thing for people. Like, I started in Youth Services and my Grandma was big on PTA and stuff, I’ve always been involved in community events. I’ve always been good with people and public speaking and all that. I always wanted to do something with that, something like that, but with a message.
Can you speak on your influences? I saw somewhere you mentioned Thugger (Young Thug) being a huge one to you.
Yeah … he’s tight, he’s really tight. I got a chance to meet him when he came here at Club Rio, that was really gnarly. What I meant with that was not to bite, but take on his persona of not really caring about how people perceive him. 'Cause I’ve always been that way, I always did left field type shit, but with that being said, I try to break down a lot of barriers, so people like Thug, David Bowie that just died, that hurt my heart … So I took from all of that and tried to blend them all together. I feel like you don’t have to, like, be in a box. ’Cause, like, being from the hood, it’s like I’m black, but at the same time I’m part Mexican, so I don’t have to go either way. I speak Spanish, so like growing up here, that’s what I’m about, trying to blur all the lines.
Word up. That’s some perspective right there. So, Creole, can you speak on that?
It’s really cool, it’s more like ... sonically put together, all these songs I’ve had for like a year. I was sitting on them, me and my guy Saint. I played a lot of the melodies on this with him.
What’s your take on being independent, staying independent and looking for some type of backing?
Right now, it’s pretty tough. I’m definitely looking for more backing, but like the way the game has transitioned. I want it to be open, like really fair, cause the way Soundcloud and others are, everything is moving to streaming services. So, like you need backing to reach those streaming services, whether you’re funding yourself or someone doing your distribution. So, that said, I’m definitely open, but at the same time I’ve been able to do it pretty organic, so however it comes. I’ll figure out the best way to play it.
So, basically you just need assistance getting the tours jumping and shit like that?
Yeah! So this one is one of my favorites, it’s called “Not Even.” I performed it a couple times and it’s not out yet. I always tell people it makes me feel like I’m an elephant, but yeah, man, this is like one of the ones I felt really progressive with the sound of the production. I told Saint ‘No, it has to be this way,’ and stuff like that.
Blues hands over the headphones to play unreleased music, “Not Even” a track a bit different from “On the Acid,” this one sounds a bit more 'grudge,' a bit more aware of the sound and direction he plans to go in.
Ok, I see you going in another direction with this one.
Just having fun.
You’d been working prior to “On the Acid,” I’m sure everyone is wondering and asking, do you figure the visual is what drew all the action?
I know for a fact that’s what it was. But I knew, cause like the song had done numbers before the video. I was like, watch me do this video and see what happens. It went viral three months after, I just woke up one day, how is this on Say Cheese? How is this on DJ Akademiks? I was like what, what happen? It was funny ’cause Say Cheese use to not rock with me, and it was crazy ‘cause I know the dude there, Sean Cotton. He dropped another song of mine the same week and that was cool, like, that was tight, it’s been pretty interesting. That being said, “On the Acid” was a Golden song and that video has 35k views right now. That one has hella numbers and it’s way older than “On the Acid.” It’s like every time I do something with Golden, it’s gonna happen, it’s just a matter of when people decide when they’re gonna catch up to it.
I know the question comes up a lot: is it antics, is that the vibe? You mentioned attention, was the visual strictly centered for a reaction?It was really about having fun. That’s the thing I try to get everyone to understand. If you’re not having fun with what you’re doing, then you’re not gonna love it. If you can’t love it, there’s no point in doing it. So with that video, girls had been telling me, let me put makeup on you or wear makeup, this and that, and I mentioned the David Bowie reference. He was way into the androgynous, different vibe. Like Prince was one of my favorites, “When Doves Cry” and “Red Corvette" all that. Prince is like my dad, like for real. That’s where I got a lot of my stuff from, so people forget that was the stuff that they were on when they were coming up. Now it’s ‘Yo, OK, it’s a different light now,’ cause I’m doing it as a rapper and rappers have to be hyper-masculine. You gotta be this way and the other.
How big is social media to you?
Ummm, it helps a lot cause it’s the basis of my career. Cause now, I can go out in San Antonio and people kinda know me. But, like before, it’s like my twitter, I’m on like every day, people are hitting me. My Soundcloud averages 1,000 plays a day or something. I’m like a thing on the internet, but I try and stay human. Because you can only do so much from the internet, but it helps pinpoint my demographic as far as who’s listening to me. It’s crazy cause my last two to three projects, I had homies from Scotland producing, a bunch of people from overseas, people sending me files and stuff to work on.
Has your DM been littered with chicks trying to get you on the acid and shit?
Hahaha, yes! They wanna put me in makeup, they wanna do all of this, like ‘Yo, you’re so free.’ I’m just like ‘[I] just like to have fun.’ It’s been fun. I will say, I’m not big on trying to be a player. I try to invest my time in something and really pinpoint it, but at the same time I love meeting people and making new friends. If I can build a relationship with someone on some genuine shit, every time.
Lastly, what impression would you like to leave with the people, what would you say?
Ummm, I’m not gay.
I’m sure you get it a lot.
Well, yeah … it’s fun cause people are gonna wonder. So one thing I would love to say to the people is that, ‘I’m a lot friendlier than I put off, but do not try me.’
And also, I love the city, and I’m really excited. I just want people to really come together for all the stuff that’s about to happen.
And it’s like, it doesn’t make no sense, ’cause this is San Antonio. We still have so much culture compared to a lot of places in America.
Where do you draw the line? I know Twitter is crazy and people run their mouths, etc.
That’s the thing. I mean you really gotta piss me off, cause I’m a really cool person, it takes a lot. But one thing I won’t tolerate is if you come around and come disrespecting where I’m at or the stuff I’m trying to do, or you try to down what I’m trying to do for someone else. ’Cause everything I do [is a] direct representation of the people, and that’s big, it’s monumental. You try [to] degrade my neighborhood or something about my family or the artists I’m working with. And it’s like, I’m not gone beef over no rap music, I just need my respect. ’Cause at the end of the day, I’m a human. Know’mean? I was having this conversation and at the end of the day, all humans deserve respect. Even if someone does something foul in business, they’re still human.