Blackalicious’ only crime on Blazing Arrow is that its CD is too fucking good.
The rhymes set the ears a-tingle and the frontal lobes afire. The beats blur genres and demand bass knobs turned to the left. Most kids are just going to bump along to the awesome tracks at a party, neglecting to cue their tone-deaf ears to one of hip hop’s most prophetic acts.
Sure, the first thing to do with Blazing Arrow is parade it in front of your jealous friends before throwing it in the house system and fucking bumping to more than an hour of the tightest, grooviest rhymes by the Gift of Gab, Chief Xcel and a platoon of badasses including Gil Scott-Heron, Rakaa and Babu, Chali 2NA, Lateef The Truth Speaker and Ben Harper.
But then, what you need to do is slide it into the discman and find a quiet corner to explore the sonic breadth and lyrical brilliance of Blackalicious’ outstanding LP. Both in technical presentation and fully-developed lyric themes, Gift of Gab breathes his extremely positive ethos of “Rise / if you’re sleeping, won’t you open your eyes again / The greatest high be that natural high within / No need to force the progressions, just ride the wind / You’ll know the answer to the where, the why and when / If you keep working for your search you’ll find the end/But at the end you’ll find it begins again / And everything you learned you’re only rememberin’.”
It’s the kind of kitsch philosophy one could discard as irrelevant if it wasn’t lashed to the most progressive and talented music currently available. With such imaginative and diverse elements synthesizing into such a beautiful sonic composition, even the most jaded listener is forced to take the delicious Blackalicious brand of optimism very, very seriously.
[Top 40 Dave thanks the ladies for music he’s too unhip to find.]