Josh Blake Releases New Album ‘Unemployment Benefits’
Unemployment Benefits, the brand-spanking-new release by Grammy-nominated musician, producer and engineer Josh Blake, is out now and already making waves. Born in the midst of a global pandemic and unrest, Unemployment Benefits recalls old school, mix-tape, politically-charged hip hop — part protest, part righteous anger, part hope set to infectious beats.
Based in Asheville, NC, Blake is a founding member of celebrated hip hop group Granola Funk Express and a sought-after producer/engineer whose career spans three decades and includes countless collaborations. For Unemployment Benefits’ 13 songs, Blake assembled an impressive coterie of peers, including Grammy-winning emcee and GFE contributor Agent 23 who appeared on the track and video “Benefits.” Animated by Derrick Lee Johnson (Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band), the video premiered on JamBase on October 20. Other collaborators on the album include Foulmouth Jerk, Spaceman Jones, Jamar Woods (The Fritz), Simon Thomas George (Marcus King Band), C. Shreve The Professor (Free The Optimus), Adam Strange, Breez Evahflowin, Johnny Durkin (Deep Banana Blackout) and more.
Because of the risks posed by Covid-19, artists who contributed to the LP submitted their parts remotely, which Blake then laid over his beats. “Like many people, I found myself stuck at home with a lot of extra downtime, and eventually I set the goal to make a beat a day,” said Blake in a statement. “Originally I just wanted to make a simple beat tape to put out—something that people could listen to as background music — but as the process moved along, I realized that these tracks deserved to be fully actualized. That’s when I began reaching out to various emcees I had worked with over the years to see if they wanted to throw some rhymes on these beats. “I think people who are fans of old school hip hop will really appreciate the dichotomy between what I’m putting out here and what is currently popular in that genre.”
This being “Vol. 1,” the album hints at more to come. “I hope that this is the first of potentially several installments,” said Blake. There are definitely some folks that I sent beats to that didn’t have their tracks done in time to make this particular album. No worries there, though; producing beats and creating with friends are some of my favorite things to do musically, so I’m sure I’ll keep pushing collaborative albums like this one out for many years to come.”
Unemployment Benefits is available across most digital and streaming platforms including Bandcamp. For more information, visit joshblakemusic.com or click on the links below.