Blackalicious frontman, Gift of Gab conquers the final frontier with the release of Escape 2 Mars, another solo achievement

Blackalicious frontman, Gift of Gab conquers the final frontier with the release of Escape 2 Mars, another solo achievement

Gift of Gab, best known as the technically adept MC of the vaunted Blackalicious, knew that after waiting over five years for a follow-up solo release that he would have to really take this one far. Like other planet kind of far. Escape 2 Mars signifies the next groundbreaking voyage in the career of an MC who is nothing short of iconic. Cornerstone Recording Arts Society is set to release Escape 2 Mars October 27, 2009 on CD, Vinyl and worldwide digital download.

Production on Escape was placed mainly in the hands of the Bay Area’s talented DNAEBEATS, with a few tracks also helmed by Hednodic, from Gab’s most recent star collabo project The Mighty Underdogs and Crown City Rockers. Del the Funky Homosapien and Brother Ali, another two undeniably iconic MCs, are featured on “Dreamin’”, one of the record’s stand out cuts. Gab also recruited some of the talent from the Quannum Collective he helped pioneer, including Joyo Velarde, Lateef The Truthspeaker, and Honeycut’s vocalist Bart Davenport.

His hopes of keeping things close to home set the stage for the album’s inspiration. “People are gonna think this is about Martians, but it’s not,” Gab explains. “It’s more so about taking care of the planet we’re on. We might have to escape to Mars or somewhere else if we keep taking the planet we live on for granted.”

“I’m not trying to preach to anyone,” he continues. “I just think it’s important for us to raise the level of consciousness and consideration of these things.” On songs like Electric Waterfalls and the title track, lyrically he journeys into these topics directly. Musically speaking, it was also a space age inspiration that led him to break some new personal ground. “Some of the more electronic feeling songs were new territory me. I didn’t really connect with much of that until we went out and did some shows with Bass Nectar and I saw the culture shifting in front of me and thought it was a great thing.”

Known for one of live hip hop’s most engaging shows and mind-blowing delivery, Gift of Gab will tour the country heavily in support of Escape 2 Mars this Fall and into Winter and Spring. Expect him in your city’s favorite club and major festivals alike, soon.

Gift Of Gab – El Gifto Magnifico (FREE DOWNLOAD)

Escape 2 Mars Track Listing

1) E2MTRO

2) El Gifto Magnifico

3) Light Years

4) Dreamin’ feat Del The Funky Homosapien & Brother Ali

5) In Las Vegas

6) Escape 2 Mars

7) Electric Waterfalls

8) Richman, Poorman

9) Somathapeople

10) Spotlight

11) Rhyme Travel

Blackalicious, Crown City Rockers & The Mighty Underdogs at Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom

by Adam LeBlanc

Lyricist Gift of Gab and DJ-producer Chief Xcel make-up the legendary BLACKALICIOUS who, for over 15 years have repeatedly pushed the envelope and set new precedents with Gab’s uber-clever thought-provoking lyrics and dextrous delivery and Xcel’s timely executed beats, breaks, rhythms and samples.

Acts that consistently bring this much substance to the table oftentimes have little to no room for improvement in a live setting. Each cut being so meticulously planned and constructed that the notion of anything aside from studio work reaching this calibre seems to be an absurdity. With the release of last year’s “4/20 Live In Seattle” DVD Blacklicious proved this notion very wrong and re-confirmed their place as a bona fide elite West Coast act.

Returning to the Pacific Northwest, Blackalicious brought a solid opening act with them in Boston’s Crown City Rockers. Fronted by gifted emcee Raashan Ahmad this quartet really mixed it up, with their apex coming late in the set when Ahmad and drummer/lyricist, Headnodic exchanged machine gun speed verbal assaults while the other provided the brisk beat on a snare drum.

Now in proper mindset, the crowd was salivating in eager anticipation of the Northern California headliners to grace the stage. After a humble intro Gift of Gab completely opened-up with his brilliant and dizzying fluidity. At this point, those who were not previously familiar with Blacklicious were easily recognized – they were the random Vancouverites with baffled stares, open mouths and noticeably lower jaw bones.

Chief Xcel supremely contributed to the live nature of the show by furiously and methodically demonstrating his magic somewhere between his decks and a Macbook at the back of the stage. Multi tonal-laden beats, varying tempos and well-selected samples added perfect complement to Gab’s verses and physical theatrics.

Elated, the crowd really could not ask for more. They got more.

At the halfway mark in the show, Gab introduced close friend and also very gifted lyricist Lateef the Truth Speaker who has closely collaborated with both members since 1992. Currently, Gift of Gab and Lateef make-up The Mighty Underdogs while Lateef and Chief Xcel together are know as The Maroons.

The chemistry between the three veterans was quickly apparent to all as they presented awe-inspiring versions of many classic Blackalicious cuts. Having Gab and Lateef on the same stage, interacting lyrically and physically added a dimension to the show that noone could have expected but was definitely received in the greatest of satisfacition.

In all, the show was far more than expected; it showcased the strengths of a legitimate underground pioneer and helped me confirm the repeated rumors I’ve heard that hip hop is alive and well in Vancouver, BC.

Original Article