Listen to An EXCLUSIVE Interview with The Hip-Hop Duo, BLACKALICIOUS On Their Brand New Album, “Imani” and Much More!
Posted On 30 Sep 2015
Tag: All Access, All Access Music Group, Alpha and Omega, Amde Hamilton, Artist Interview, Blackalicious, Blazing Arrow, Chief Xcel, DJ D Sharp, Escape, Faith, Fantastic Negrito, Gift Of Gab, Hip Hop, Imani, Imani Coppola, Imani Vol. 1, Lateef, LifeSavas, Lifesavers, Love's Gonna Save The Day, Lyrics Born, Monophonics, Myron, Myron & E, Nia, On Fire Tonight, Roxy, Roxy Theatre, Soundcloud, Sunset Strip, That Night, The Craft, The Sun, Timothy Parker, Tribe Called Quest, Watts Prophets, We Did It Again, Xavier Mosley, Xcel, Zap Mama
Last week, the hip hop duo, Blackalicious released “Imani, Vol. 1”. Three years in the making, this album is the first of a projected trilogy to be released over the course of two years. It is being called Blackalicious’ most ambitious and accomplished effort to date, maintaining the spirituality, introspection and positivity that are the twosome’s trademarks, while making it clear that their musical vision and creative drive remain as strong as ever.
“We’re older, we’re wiser, we’re more mature,” MC Gift of Gab (nee Timothy Parker) says of “Imani, Vol. 1″, Blackalicious‘ first new album in a decade. “It’s better now, because we’ve grown as people and artists.”
“Each one of these records is a chapter in our lives, and we put our complete heart and soul into it,” agrees Gab’s longtime musical partner, CJ/producer Chief Xcel (aka Xavier Mosley). “We live these records.”
Imani, Vol. 1 lives up to the beloved California-bred duo’s hard-won reputation as one of hip-hop’s most progressive, forward-thinking creative forces. Acclaimed for the sublime combination of Gab’s verbal dexterity and lyrical eloquence, and X’s bracing beats and distinctive soundscapes, Blackalicious has earned widespread respect, both inside and outside of the hip-hop community, for the wildly inventive, personally charged innovations of its first three albums, 1999’s Nia, 2002’s Blazing Arrow and 2005’s The Craft.
“Imani, Vol. 1″ is driven by Gift of Gab’s uplifting verbal sophistication and Chief Xcel’s expansive sonic sensibility, which are as distinctive as ever on such riveting tracks as “On Fire Tonight,” “Escape,” “The Sun,” “We Did It Again” and the epic “Alpha and Omega.”
On this record, the pair are joined by such guest performers as Afro-pop diva Zap Mama, who’s featured on the title track; Amde Hamilton of legendary ’60s rap progenitors the Watts Prophets on the album-opener “Faith,” eclectic singer-songwriter Imani Coppola on “The Sun,” underground hip-hop duo LifeSavas on “That Night,” neo-blues auteur Fantastic Negrito on “Love’s Gonna Save the Day,” Myron of retro-soulsters Myron & E on “On Fire Tonight,” and the all-star hip-hop combo of Lateef, Lyrics Born, Monophonics and DJ D Sharp on “Alpha and Omega.”
“Our audience seems to be people who see music and art as essential parts of life, and not just disposable accessories,” Chief Xcel concludes. “That’s who we make music for—people who need music in their life. I’m one of those people. Imani is Swahili for faith, and that’s really where we’re at at this juncture. We’re so rooted in our purpose that we don’t have to second-guess, we just know. There’s no fear of the unknown, there’s just the fire to move forward and get to wherever the journey takes us.”
Learn more about Blackalicious, their music and this new album in the following All Access interview: