Blackalicious may be one of the best hip-hop acts that no one has ever heard of.

Blackalicious may be one of the best hip-hop acts that no one has ever heard of. Despite its stellar 2002 debut, "Blazing Arrow" (MCA), the duo of MC Gift Of Gab and DJ/producer Chief Xcel has gone largely unnoticed. "The Craft," their second effort and Anti- debut, elevates their brand of art-house hip-hop to another level.

The duo once again takes the road less traveled on lead single "Powers." Backed by vocals courtesy of Ledisi and KWEEN, Gab rhymes about the seductive power of a woman atop an infectious uptempo groove. Elsewhere, Xcel really flexes his production skills on the soulful "Black Diamonds And Pearls."

While Gab's lyrics of empowerment are nothing new, they are still inspiring in the face of what else is being offered in hip-hop. "The Craft" also includes guest appearances from George Clinton ("Lotus Flower") and Floetry ("Automatique"), among others. While "The Craft" may not make Blackalicious a household name, it is a welcome treat for loyal fans and hip-hop heads looking for something different.