So let me tell you about Blackalicious. This is music that, if you are intelligent, and if you like hip-hop, you should like. This is music that if you are intelligent, and you like poetry, you will like. This is music that sometimes requires intelligence, and so can be seen as pretentious by some people. This is good music.
Blackalicious is mainly known for their flow. No one would say Gift of Gab is wack, that he can't rap, clearly the man can. His flow is notorious madness, speeding up to explosion proportions in Alphabet Aerobics and yes, quite literally, in Chemical Calisthenics. He raps mad! Let me tell you...
Most people listen to Blackalicious and think damn, that man can rap. He can, yes he can, though people seem to miss the production. It may be a personal observation, maybe not true for the mass, but I've found Xcel to be one of the most unappreciated producers in the hip-hop industry. People focus on the words and miss the beats. It was not until quite recently in fact, when one of my friends, a drummer (he went to Berkeley College of Music, majoring in Drums, imagine that), told me no man, no, stop hearing the words and listen to the music.
These two, Gift of Gab and Xcel have known each other for a while, went to high school together if I understand things correctly. In college they were united with DJ Shadow, Lateef, and Lyrics Born. How the Universe conspires. All five of them made wondrous creations with the Quannum Records, formerly SoulSides Records. See, no, hear such greatness on Quannum Spectrum and SoleSides Greatest Bumps. They have become the SoleSides Crew.
Start Blackalicious with an EP, A2G to be exact, seven songs with the guest production of Cut Chemist, how wonderful. But most importantly they proved themselves more than a fad, they continued with good music. Cue up Nia, and you have an album, packed, literally, 19 tracks of vocal amazement, with help from all of the SoleSides Crew. Quite recently we have seen the latest developments, Blazing Arrow. This is in fact the best.
An opinion! I have uttered something personal, superfluous! But have faith young listener, I may be nothing more than letters but I have feelings. And this album is I feel amazing. It shows the faith of the music community! It shows the talent of Blackalicious, yet again, but it also displays the abilities of such revered guests as ?uestlove, Gil Scott-Heron, Saul Williams, Ben Harper, Zack de la Rocha, De La Soul, Jaguar Wright, Hi-Tek, Cut Chemist, DJ Babu, and the ubiqutious SoleSides crew. This could be called a tour de force or fucking great, but at least it is listenable.
And that is what you should do, glorious readers, listen to Blackalicious and their most recent album, Blazing Arrow. Appreciate rap at its best, or at least, sometimes, it's fastest.