With the Vera Stage crowd properly riled up and swagged the fuck out from Keyboard Kid's boisterous instrumental set, Nacho Picasso and Blue Sky Black Death opened with "Bloody Murder," the first track from their third collaborative album Exalted, and got the crowd bouncing with them right away. It was their first time performing songs from Exalted live (earlier in the day Nacho wandered the grounds with headphones on, rehearsing his lines), and a couple lines were fumbled here and there, but it was nothing that couldn't be excused by the newness of the material and the fact that the guy was probably faded like you should be at 10:30 on Friday night of Block Party.
- WHITMAN DEWEY-SMITH
With Blue Sky Black Death backing on live keys and guitar as well as laptops and production gear, the new stuff sounded great — "The Gods Don't Favor You," "Haile Selassie," "Swap 'Em Out" — the rapper's highly quotable lines being echoed by the crowd whenever possible. Sometimes repeating things like "Bald head, rubbin' palms, gettin' my Baby on" helps you fully grasp their greatness. As they went through dark anthem "Bad Guy" and the localized realness of "Maintain," I thought about how this sound, and these songs in particular, are some of the best, most accurate musical representations of a side of Seattle that's bigger than people would like to think. Nacho Picasso and Blue Sky Black Death are making true "Seattle Rap," full of the kind of gloom and doom that comes from years of living in a place that has 50-degree July evenings like this one, and doing it better than anyone else in the city today.