Blazing Arrow

Hip-hop that makes you think? It's not as novel a concept as some might imagine. Blackalicious proves this on its major-label debut.

Hip-hop that makes you think? It's not as novel a concept as some might imagine. Blackalicious proves this on its major-label debut. MC and frontman the Gift of Gab and DJ/producer Chief Excel, known for their combination of soulful tracks and thought-provoking lyrics, bring their A-game to the majors via Blazing Arrow. The beautifully melodic title track is laced with a lush flute sample that perfectly balances Gab's rapid lyric delivery. On "Purest Love," the Northern California-based duo gets autobiographical. Blazing Arrow also serves as a testament to the group's clout among fellow musicians, with guest appearances from Gil Scott-Heron, members of Jurassic 5, and Ben Harper. Although much of Blazing Arrow is a laid-back affair, the duo knows its way around harder terrain, as evidenced on "Passion," which teams the twosome with Dilated Peoples.—RH