I’ve always been into underground hip-hop groups. One of my favorites is Blackalicious, a group that has earned respect through honesty, commitment, and artistry. The duo, rapper Gift of Gab and DJ/producer Chief Xcel released three classic albums – Nia (1999), Blazing Arrow (2002), and The Craft (2005). Although they maintained a rigorous touring schedule, the group dropped off many people’s radar in favor of whoever was the flavor of the day.
Blackalicious recently had a bit of a resurgence after Daniel Radcliffe performed their tongue-twisting hit Alphabet Aerobics on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Now Blackalicious is ready to shake up the world of hip-hop with the release of their first album in 10 years.
The album, Imani Vol 1., stays true to rapper Gift of Gab’s clever tongue-twisting wordplay and DJ/producer Chief Xcel’s unique beats through a mix of production and live instruments. The audacious album is only the beginning as Imani Vol. 1 is the first volume of a trilogy, and features appearances from Lifesavas, Lateef, Japanese-American rapper Lyrics Born, funk band Monophonics, polyphonic Afro-Pop singer Zap Mama, and Fantastic Negrito, who was featured as one of our Indie Artists Your Must Hear. Bosko (Big Boi, Kanye West), Myron of retro-soul duo Myron & E, Imani Coppola, and Amde Hamilton also appear on the record.
Instead of going the record label route, Blackalicious decided to partner with PledgeMusic, the #1 community of artists and fans who believe in a better way to make, enjoy and buy music, to release their Imani Vol 1.
“Each of our albums is a different snapshot of that time in our lives,” said Gift of Gab. “With Imani, Vol. 1, it felt right to go straight to our fans; PledgeMusic feels like the best way to do that. We’re still in control of everything, and their team couldn’t have been more helpful.”
By pledging support, fans will be given the opportunity to own some rare and exclusive items the band is making available to their supporters. These include: Signed CDs and vinyl, handwritten lyric sheet, signed “NIA” poster, signed Live in Seattle DVD, special limited edition vinyl that comes directly from Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel that is perfect for every hip-hop vinyl collector, gear that was used during their tours (a mixer, a CDJ, and a turntable, all signed), VIP concert experience (which includes access to soundcheck, backstage and the best seats in the house), a day in the studio, and much more. Fans will also have access to the Blackalicious Private Updates page with the AccessPass, where they can see exclusive videos of the band working on the record, hear unreleased audio, exclusive remixes, and more. All pre-orders come with a digital download of the record.
Frederick J. Goodall is the Editor-in-Chief of Mocha Man Style, media spokesperson, event host, photographer, and a top social media influencer in Houston, TX. He likes to write about fashion, cars, travel, and health.