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Blackalicious shows another side of hip hop

Kenyatta Storin | Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Unlike most of you, who probably began listening to music in elementary school, it was not until the rise of Napster in high school that I really began to get interested in music. Before then, I had always enjoyed music, but I had known very little about it. Napster allowed me to download just about anything my friends told me was good, and from that I was soon able to develop the tastes in music that I have today. I now enjoy listening to many different genres of music, but hip-hop has always been my favorite. Although it is obviously one of the most popular genres of today, I find that modern hip-hop too often gets wrongfully criticized for being solely about money, sex and violence. Pop rap may typically fall under this criticism, but this generalization does the genre as a whole no justice, and it does not take into account the numerous contemporary hip-hop artists out there that disprove this criticism.

The progressive underground rap scene has much to offer those who want to hear rap that is a little deeper and, in some cases, more intellectual than what is usually heard on the radio. I believe that the rap act Blackalicious exemplifies this better than anyone else. Blackalicious is one of the most talented and unique duos out there of any genre of music, with excellent, poetic rhymes from Gift of Gab and complex, experimental production from Chief Xcel that draws from a number of different genres. Gift of Gab raps at an alarming speed complete with allusions, metaphors and a vocabulary that would make an English professor proud. And best of all, rather than being misogynous or violent, Blackalicious is both spiritual and uplifting. If you are one of those people who dislikes the rap you have heard for its shallowness, give Blackalicious a chance to enlighten your view on hip-hop.

Contact Kenyatta Storin at kstorin@nd.edu