Last week, Fort Lauderdale rapper Bleubird — middle fingers a-blazin', gold grillz shining, and Gary Busey face masquerading — released his new video "Keith Haringbone" directed by BJ Golnick. On September 18, a whole new album named after his home turf, Lauderdale, is set to be released. Recorded in Lake Worth at the Audio Architeks studio this past spring, the album comes fast on the heels of Bleubird'snonsolo project, FTLiens (Bleubird with his collaborator, Jon Numonics), which released a self-titled album earlier this year.
The 12 songs on Lauderdale represent Bleubird's first solo full-length since 2012’s Cannonball!!! All dozen tracks are produced by Mister Belvedere and feature guest shots from local boys Astronautalis and Pompano Slim along with the New Yorkers known as Swag Toof.
Bleubird will drop the goods with an album-release party and performance at Radio-Active Records (845 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale) at 7 p.m. Friday, September 18. That will be your only guaranteed chance to catch the man stateside, because he's leaving two days later. If you have your passport in good standing and frequent-flier miles to burn, Bleubird will be taking a 19-date tour this fall through Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Germany, and he threatens that he might not return.
New Times caught up with Bleubird, AKA Jacques Bruna, to ask about his affinity for Fort Lauderdale, Central Europe, and another video he has in the can.
New Times: What music and life experiences inspired your new album, Lauderdale? Bleubird: I've been devouring and dissecting hip-hop/rap music my entire life. The ever-changing landscape has always managed to keep me on my toes. My last solo album came out three years ago, and at that time, my life was so much different. I was sitting real pretty being paid to traipse around the country doing what I love. These past few years have been more of a struggle. I thought I was at the summit when the mountain crumbled underneath me. Do I continue chasing the dragon, or do I take the management position? My music has always taken precedence over everything in my life. I wanted to make something that was sonically relevant yet still represented my unconventional approach to rap. Mister Belvedere was consistently wowing me with his production... so it all just came together.
From the title of your new album, it sounds like you have strong feelings about your hometown.
Fort Liquordale... Fort Flakkadale! Jäger bombs and paddleboards! The sun shines 12 months out of the year, but tanning salons are still able to pay their rent! Honestly, I couldn't tell you what keeps me here. I left for years, but I just keep coming back. I would like to give a shoutout to the dickhead fire inspector who filed a complaint with the city to get Belvy and I kicked out of our downtown warehouse where we were living and had our studio. The day they came to give us the eviction notice, there was a gentleman on the green belt simultaneously talking shit and smoking a $3 flakka rock in plain view... broad daylight! Yet they felt our warehouse in which our landlord installed a full kitchen and bathroom for us (complete with regulation fire safety precautions) was just way too illegal. This place is so fucked up and beautiful that it's just hard to leave. Most forward-thinking people who grow up here eventually realize that there isn't much to offer them in the way of arts and culture, and they inevitably move on to bigger and better cities. Miami is awesome, but we're like the Crips and Bloods grilling each other from the county line and occasionally venturing into enemy territory... So I have the utmost respect for people who stick around and take it upon themselves to make things better.
What was the shoot for your new video for "BLKBOI" like?
Oh man, it was like the party in the "Fight for Your Right to Party" video. It was like a fifth-grade dance but with all dudes, and it's also a pizza party! There was one chick there; she played drums, and she was rad. It was like a group Skype chat with your mom and all of your ex-girlfriends. It was like getting into a really intense bar brawl except nobody really got hurt and everybody was friends. It was epic. I have so much faith in Digital Cypher and what he does... Now we just get to sit back and wait... should be ready in the next few weeks.
How did you get so popular in Europe that you're playing this many dates in Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Germany?
I've been touring over there since 2002. I would intermittently come home and work a concrete job subcontracted by the city, then take off for months at a time playing shows and making music all over Europe. I eventually moved to Berlin for a year and lived on the same street that Massiv (the German 50 Cent) was shot. This is my first tour back in three years. I'm rolling solo on a vision-quest rap adventure, renting a car and driving myself through Central EU, 22 dates in 25 days! If I die, tell my city I love her.
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