In all honestly, it had been a while since I had checked for something from Columbus, OH MC/producer Blueprint. I know him best for his work with RJD2, both on RJ's solo albums and their work as the duo Soul Position. I was a big fan of 2003 Soul Position debut 8 Million Stories, which dropped during my freshman year of college. Since then, however, I had lost track of both the man and his music.
Flash forward to a few weeks ago. I was checking J-Zone's twitter feed and saw a blog post by Blueprint that Zone had re-tweeted. Curious, I gave it a look. After reading it, I continued pouring through Blueprint's blog, admiring his fluid writing style and honest self-analysis. I loved his approach to writing about gear, production, and the struggles of someone trying to make it as an artist.
Seeing a link to the Kindle version of his book, The Making of Adventures in Counter-Culture, I decided to give it a look. I had yet to check the Adventures in Counter-Culture album, but I was eager to get a behind the scenes look at the album making process through the eyes of such a gifted writer. While brief (the last 30% of the book consists of the lyrics from Adventures in Counter-Culture), Blueprint's book is a highly engaging read. Hitting all of the marks that make good music writing captivating, Blueprint gives the reader insight into the trials, tribulations, and life events that inspired him to make Adventures in Counter-Culture. This is an extremely personal book that deals with alcoholism, depression, and the loss of friends and family. If you listen to a song like "Clouds", the emotional intensity of the content is palpable. The haunting instrumentation coupled with the Columbus rapper's sobering lyrics will undoubtedly send chills down your spine
Throughout the book, it is evident to the reader that creating this album was a transformative experience. Formerly a sample-based producer, Blueprint moved away from his MPC 2000 and towards the DAW Reason (version 2.5). Instead of utilizing samples, he began making beats that focused on original instrumentation drawn from a MICROKORG synth and other sources. Making no apologies for this shift, it is clear that Print wanted to re-invent himself and see how far he could push the boundaries of his music.
The Making of Adventures in Counter-Culture also gives readers without much background knowledge of the Columbus, OH music scene some valuable insight into the inner workings and important acts. I loved reading about the interactions between the different genres and how Print would absorb every kind of live music imaginable while trying to remain inspired. Having never been to Columbus or even Ohio, his descriptions have me wishing I could come through for a show.
I did find the book's ending a bit abrupt, and would have liked to hear more about the uniqueness of his relationship with the Rhymesayers record label. That said, these were minor flaws. In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and will gladly purchase future books from Blueprint. The Making of Adventures in Counter-Culture served its purpose by entertaining me and making me want to go out and buy Blueprint's music while schooling me on the Columbus music scene and Blueprint's record making process. I hope to see more books like this from Blueprint in the not-too-distant future.