Since rapper Timothy "Gift of Gab" Parker and Xavier "DJ Chief Xcel" Mosely formed Blackalicious in 1987 while attending high school in Sacramento, California, the duo has persevered from one hip-hop generation to another. The two have seen musical tastes change from the trendy youth culture of the late '80s to the gangsta rap explosion of the early '90s to the ultracapitalist orientations of today's pop-rap. Always focused on positive reflections of black culture, Blackalicious' music didn't change as radically as the hip-hop scene; but it's a scene the two remain committed to, despite their creative growth since the early days. Blackalicious' latest album, The Craft, is light-years away from the raggedly exuberant battle rhymes and beats of 1995's Melodica EP. Tracks like "40oz for Breakfast" and "Cheezit Terrorist" have been replaced by more introspective tunes like "World of Vibrations." Fortunately, though, the group's vibrations are still topnotch.
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