Artist Playlists

About Blackalicious

MC Tim Parker (a.k.a. Gift of Gab) and producer Xavier Mosley (a.k.a. Chief Xcel) built Blackalicious into a rap purist’s dream. Formed in the early ’90s, the duo became synonymous with Sacramento’s underground rap scene and the Quannum Projects hip-hop collective. In 1994, they released the laidback but contemplative “Swan Lake,” which was followed by a string of independent projects—Melodica, A2G, and Nia—before they signed to MCA in 2000. Blazing Arrow, their 2002 magnum opus, finds Blackalicious at their sharpest: Xcel refashions ’70s Harry Nilsson samples over boom-bap productions like a musical mosaic, while Gab’s lyrical dexterity on “Alphabet Aerobics” and “Chemical Calisthenics” is superhuman. On the title track of their 2005 album, The Craft, Gab is cognizant that his talent is not his own. “This stage, this mic, this crowd, this show / This life, I’ve been given a gift tonight/And for that, I vow to be a vessel,” he raps. He stayed true to his word until his untimely death in 2021.

Sacramento, CA, United States
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