From the first time I heard the Blacklicious track Attica Black 20 years ago I fell in love with their music. Gift Of Gab is clearly one of the most talented MCs out there. His versatility allows how to lay down super fast and complex raps but also sing soulful heartfelt hooks. Chief Xcel provides bumping beats that are able stand the test of time and still sound great.
Their first two albums Nia and Blazing Arrow are sort of companion albums. Nia is the Swahili word for purpose and Blazing Arrow is about believing in yourself and taking charge. Gab’s lyrics are often described as conscious rap and I have even had someone tell me that his lyrics are too preachy. I don’t really like either of them descriptions, to me it’s more just music for mature listeners.
The lyrics, hooks and samples on Blazing Arrow are certainly been put together to be introspective and inspirational. Blazing Arrow is an album I put on when I need a mental pickup and it never seems to fail to inspire me. It’s an album that can and should be listened to from beginning to end.
Strangely they never seemed to release any videos from this album but I do remember them touring a lot and was lucky enough to see them a couple of times. After a hiatus of some years Blackalicious have recently started touring again and have a new album coming later this year.