Record Label: Black Mines
Buy on Amazon
Wordsmith Gift of Gab and beat maker Chief Excel are Blackalicious. As a collective hip hop force, they have not shied away over the course of their nearly 25 year old collaboration from describing each of their full length records as chapters in the book of their lives, documentation of where they are now musically and creatively as well as where they intend to be.
Ten years since their last album, Blackalicious returns with their long awaited fourth record, IMANI, Vol. 1 which not only is a testament to the quality of musicianship they bring to the hip hop genre but also to the longevity of a style that is both consistent and noticeably refined with every successive effort. IMANI is deemed volume 1 as it is intended to act as the first part of a trilogy of albums showcasing new music from a duo that has remained relatively quiet for the last 10 years.
Immediately, IMANI is apparent of the energized and well spoken word play of Gift of Gab, delivered in the only way he can, rapid fire thought provoking vocabulary coupled by the soul infused funk inspired production of Chief Excel.
The album’s content is full of reflection, introspection, cultural identity, and a couple of cautionary tales. Fans of Blackicious should welcome this installment and may find it refreshing to discover that they have not deviated too far from their familiar motif of treating their musical outlet as a means to promote positive expression in place of the negative as well as to serve as a commentary on the life that surrounds them.
Bottom Line: Overall solid and enjoyable album that should please listeners, familiar or casual.
Favorite Tracks:Blacka, Ashes to Ashes, On Fire Tonight, Escape, The Sun, Twist of Time, Blow Up, Alpha and Omega