Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this evening’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Blue Flamez, an indie hip hop artist that’s getting honored as we approach award season this fall. His most recent EP, ‘Rez Life,’ is nominated as one of the top five finalists for this year’s NAMMY Awards. (The Native American Music Awards.) Voting has already started, and the ceremony is set for September 17 in New York. Thus, let’s explore the titular single from Blue Flamez’s ‘Rez Life’ to find out what the hype is all about!
‘Rez Life,’ the track, is fully equip with an excellent music video - a rarity in the indie music scene as a whole. The video is a superb portrayal of Blue Flamez interacting with his community. There’s an inherently authentic atmosphere to the video. The comradery between Blue Flamez and his friends and community feels particularly lovely, and it provides a wonderful visual basis for his aural ideas. (Though the video doesn’t make it especially clear who each performer is. ‘Rez Life’ seems to employ a variety of featured artists.)
‘Rez Life’ is a very well produced hip hop endeavor, and to my glee, doesn’t seem to have been created with Garageband presets. (The bane of the indie hip hop music scene.) The mix is sharp, the beats are unique, and the presentation is fresh and compelling. The lyrical content of ‘Rez Life’ is intriguing as well. Blue Flamez delves into the red tape and oppression that Native Americans work through in their lives every day.
I must be blunt - it’s never occurred to me that Native Americans would have logistical conflict with the government over, for example, hunting their food as they traditionally have. ‘Rez Life’ as a track seems to lend some insight into the contemporary Native American societal struggle. It’s no secret the United States has an awful track record with the land’s native people. ‘Rez Life’ does make one think: aren’t there some things that can be improved for these communities that seem to be being neglected?
I’m not Native American, nor can I pretend to be steeped in their culture in any capacity. As someone like that, however, ‘Rez Life’ caused me to stand back and think about the lives of Native Americans living in my country and how they could be improved in a way that allows Native Americans to honor their culture and traditions. Since that was my response to this track, I’d argue Blue Flamez did a fine job articulating his ideas.
It’s so fantastic to see a Native American hip hop artist infusing his music with his heritage. Native Americans are so underrepresented in every facet of the entertainment industry. When they are represented, it’s often offensive appropriation. Blue Flamez is the real deal, and I love that he’s creating music like this in the indie hip hop community. Check him out below and be sure to cast your vote for this year’s NAMMY’s.
Music Video: https://youtu.be/skIWuRkfx3A