These days, the word 'genre' means less and less in popular music, and few musicians embody the intermingling of sounds and styles as emphatically as Blaketheman1000. This postmodern approach to genre, along with his knack for planning uniquely unmissable shows, has enabled Blaketheman1000 to capture the interest of New York City's social and cultural scenes.
Blake Ortiz-Goldberg is originally from Los Angeles and has lived in New York City for 5 years. Blake works 15 hours every Sunday, mixing 4 church services and 2 church rehearsals. He used to mix synagogue services on Fridays and Saturdays, but has been able to quit thanks to his newfound success in music. On days not reserved for the Lord, he manages the Frost Children and is Blaketheman1000.
There's a songwriting sensibility to Blake's music that you can pick out: the punchline rap of Drake, the no-nonsense pop songcraft of Carly Rae Jepsen, and the nonsense-as-wisdom of Pavement -- it's all there. But you'd also be forgiven for not picking up on any of those notes at a Blaketheman1000 set. There's usually a lot going on at Blake's shows; part of Blake's success so far has stemmed from his ability to create a moment with his unusual live events. Highlights from last year include a benefit show for political prisoner Steven Donziger, a show in the outdoor dining structure at chinese restaurant Ming's Caffe, and a set in a packed sports bar during a Yankees vs. Mets Subway Series game. All bordered on performance art and yielded press coverage.
Whatever you call it, Blake's sparse but carefully curated output has gained a hardcore cult following that stands out among the other flashes in the Dimes Square pan. The tracks are braggadocious, a little bit drained, and you tend to listen to them five times in succession to figure out what you've just heard.
Blake's music seems hard to pin down, because the guy himself is. Born Blake Ortiz-Goldberg, with Mexican, Jewish, Italian, and Filipino heritage, he's been mistaken for just about half the ethnicities in New York city. And he's making it work for him; in an unreleased track he brags "Goldberg gets the meetings, Ortiz gets the press, Blaketheman1000 gets the checks." There are words to describe people like Blake, and his music. Maybe chimeric, maybe chameleonic, maybe intersectional. A lot of changing, not a lot of staying the same, you get the idea. But in the landscape of visual and sonic media today, where artists can change not just styles but industries, it feels truer to just call it music. Make of it what you will. Either way, the shows are still going crazy.
"Blake is more on the side of Gen Z's pink-haired pop-punk nostalgia than pure hip-hop and is careful not to let his humor obscure that fact. "I'm not trying to make a joke out of rap. Even though I try to be a comedian, I understand my place. I love country music too. The songwriting is always brilliant. They might be hybrids, but I am just trying to be myself. Like, I read your piece about white rappers, and I agreed," he professed almost self-consciously. On one level, Blake is taking from hip-hop and is indeed rhyming as a rapper would, but the production is much closer to the hyperpop inklings of Drain Gang or Glaive. There's rapping, sure, but it's clear that nobody involved is trying to be on XXL's Freshman list." - Jayson Buford, Rolling Stone