a Epitaph Records: The Gift Of Gab
The Gift Of Gab

The Gift Of Gab Lyricist 

Jake One and Vitamin D All Cuts 


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The Gift Of Gab

Self-described "everyday brothers," the Bay Area native Xavier Mosley (Chief Xcel) met the San Fernando Valley native Tim Parker (Gift of Gab) at John F. Kennedy High School in Sacramento, California in 1987, and immediately struck up a friendship over hip-hop. As Tim (known as Gabby T) and Xavier (then DJ IceSki) began plying their skills in the area, they decided to become a crew. Although they separated after Gab graduated in 1989, they kept in close touch and decided in 1991 to become Blackalicious.

Xcel's friends at the University of California at Davis were forming a crew called SoleSides, including DJ Shadow, Lyrics Born and Lateef The Truth Speaker (known together as Latyrx). In 1992, Gab moved to Davis to reunite with Xcel and found an intense, progressive collective, centered on rowdy KDVS radio shows and all-night living-room freestyle sessions. As Xcel prepared their first album, Gab joined DJ Shadow to record "Count and Estimate" as part of Shadow's side of the first SoleSides label 12-inch in late 1992, and released it to underground acclaim.

Blackalicious then recorded Melodica, released on SoleSides in 1995. The EP's soulful journey-displaying Xcel's lush, layered production and Gab's introspective, whiplash rhymes on classics like "Swan Lake", ൰ Oz. For Breakfast" and "Deep In The Jungle"-fired the imagination of heads worldwide. By the time they began recording Nia in 1996, Billboard magazine was calling the crew the Bay Area's most important new hip-hop group.

But by the end of 1997, Blackalicious and the SoleSides Crew reached a crossroads. SoleSides folded and was reborn as Quannum. In all, Nia took three obstacle-filled years to make. Just as Xcel was experiencing profound creative gr...

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