Growing up, DNA Picasso stayed away from the color blue at all costs. Red was more his speed; bold, unshaken, with flare. Blue was too closely associated with sadness and depression — a cold, deep color. But, with age comes wisdom. The Denver artist learned, in time, that perhaps it wasn’t the color, but something deep within his psyche. Fear of showing vulnerability. Fear to let his guard down. Love — finding it, cherishing it — was the kicker. Having someone he could trust with his whole heart, and getting the same in return, turned insecurities into creative advantages, making The Color Blü his most realized, complex work to date — much like the man with a guitar in a particularly famous painting by a painter sharing his namesake.
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The Color Blü, DNA Picasso’s first solo studio effort since 2021’s Summer’s Over, reads like a love letter — to himself, to the people he holds closest, and to an art form the Denver emcee has worked tirelessly to maximize for years in the game.
“Feel Like Myself,” glossy and focused, is a “stare at yourself in the mirror” sort of record. DNA Picasso takes a long hard look, acknowledging the dark moments in his progression as both a human and artist. Instead of deflecting, he opens his heart to change. Much of the same thematics are ever-present on “100,” a two-guard attack alongside Chris Cart3r, but instead of taking an internal look, Picasso looks to his kin and hopes they show him the same level of honesty.
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“1-800-PICASSO” is a shining star, smack-dab in the middle of a fluid album. Picasso is in his bag here, crafting cohesive, lovestruck bars over an uptempo soul sample, reminiscent of the clanging, bright instrumental on Big K.R.I.T.’s “K.R.I.T. HERE.” Picasso never lacks confidence in his ability on The Color Blü, evidenced by this particular record, where he flexes his ability to meld sound and delivery with relative ease.
Another high point is “Late 2 the Function,” a versatile track bursting with memorable one-liners, like when Picasso asks, “Guess I was late to the function, everybody drunk, this how y’all get along in public?” The album also makes room for a number of bops, like “Slide!,” a fun, bouncy record that doesn’t take itself too seriously, despite the interpersonal nature of the album at large.
It’s nearly impossible to foresee when an artist will take their next step. Or when the mold will be broken. How could we possibly make that prediction? It happens within oneself — a conscientious discernment, brought on by a number of factors that only the artist in question knows. When it does happen, a talented creator harnesses these feelings and spreads their wings. On The Color Blü, DNA Picasso finally felt ready to soar.