Blackalicious has spent the past decade earning a sturdy reputation as one of hip-hop’s most inventive duos. Since the group’s beginnings with DJ Shadow’s Solesides Crew, Chief Xcel’s multilayered beats have provided the perfect platform for Gift of Gab’s rapid-fire repertoire, leaving jaws slack with tracks such as “Alphabet Aerobics” and “Chemical Calisthenics.” But since 2002’s Blazing Arrow, both members have been busy with their own projects. Gab’s solo album lit up college-radio charts last year, and Xcel’s collaborations with Lateef the Truthspeaker and Afro-funk pioneer Fela Kuti have kept underground heads nodding. Regrouped and set to unveil its third full-length later this month, Blackalicious is determined to tear it up once again with The Craft.

Categories: Music