By Ashley Zimmerman
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By David Von Bader
By Sayre Berman
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What about songs like "Welcome to My Fuck" or "Emo Pervert"?
Intrigued? Repulsed? Confused?
Yes, these are common reactions to Bleubird's quirky brand of hip-hop. But those quick to dismiss him as some rapper with more shtick in his backpack than skills need to listen up; he's got some weird science to drop.
Born in Hialeah and currently residing in beautiful Pembroke Pines, 27-year-old Bleubird (real name Jacques Bruna) fills his days with his parents' home-cooked meals and a construction job. He's a simple man with simple needs, living a quiet life in the 'burbs.
When he's not in South Florida, the dreadlocked MC is traversing the globe, playing huge festivals like the Warped Tour, hopping around Belgium and Switzerland, and cutting albums with German rappers. He's also toured with hip-hop heavies like Grand Buffet and Sole.
Despite the goofy song titles, Bleubird's rhymes are cynical, self-deprecating, and politically erect. "We the Bomb!," the final track on Sloppy Doctor, is a rabble-rouser of a jam in which Bleu checks off all the countries America has bombed or attacked since World War II. "I don't have one political stance, but I love really talking about it, not just quoting Noam Chomsky" he says. "I love to be absolutely serious and totally kidding at the same time."
Doctor, which was released last fall on the Canadian indie hip-hop label Endemik, is riven with that dichotomy. It employs a sarcastic-yet-educated world view assisted by ominous, chunky beats that could be the soundtrack to the end of the world (or maybe just the end of the world party). Bleu is just as likely to rap about hitting on soccer moms as he is about the plight of the working class, which makes it a strange, wild ride through the 20 tracks, through references to 2 Live Crew, The Anarchist Cookbook, Sesame Street, and God. But you can also see Doctor as a first-person trip at warp speed through his conflicted psyche. "Pre-Fab Housing" drops a jazzy bass line over the story of a bike trip through the vanilla landscape of South Florida suburbia ("Soaking up looks from athletic dads/Just because they know what I'd do to their soccer moms.") "That's my neighborhood," he says. "I work construction, and when I come home, I'm filthy. Plus, I have dreads. I pull up and people give me dirty looks."
While he was born and raised in South Florida, Bleu still finds himself at odds with many of his friends who are content to stay here forever. And on Sloppy Doctor, he has much to say about suburban kids who wanna be gangstas. The second track, "Crybaby Crunk," comes all guns blazing with the line "Florida's only gold teeth and tennis shoes." Is that true, Bleu?
"There's just this crazy phenomenon [here]," he says, "like, kids from rich Jewish families who, years later, come with a Jesus tattoo and a .22 in their pants."
Bleubird likes getting a rise out of people. He's been known to get on stage in tight, pink, biker shorts and rant about the economy; he thrives on crowd reaction. But on the Florida dates of the Warped Tour last month, he says it was a fellow rapper who had a problem with his message. "There was this guy from New York, Immortal Technique, and he got up on stage after me and said, 'No more pussy rap.' Just because I don't get up there and act tough, I get negativity."
Indeed, Bleubird's message often falls on deaf ears. At a show in Pennsylvania last year, he was thrown out of a bar for simply trying to hype the crowd. "I started the show, and no one was paying attention," he laughs. "So I just started freestyling about the people standing at the bar. I told them if they wanted to hear a certain song, to write it on a piece of paper, put it in a bottle, and throw it at me." Seven versions of the same song later, Bleu was grabbed off the stage by his feet and thrown outside. "I really wish they would have thrown me down the bar, like, by my belt," he laments.
Bleubird recently returned from a two-month tour of Europe. He plans to go back out in September, after playing one of his first Broward shows this week. And, ya know, the living-at-his-parents-house gig is cramping his style. He's gotta get back out there and drop some more knowledge on the masses, while wearing, say, a pair of cutoff jeans.
A guy with a song called "The Boogie Man Screams Like a Girl" can do that.