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Blackalicious - Blazing Arrow

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Blazing Arrow

Blackalicious

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The late '90s ushered in a second golden age of progressive hip-hop, as a group of ambitious young lions rose from the underground to redefine the art of lyrical technique and revive the idea that hip-hop had relevant statements to make. With their 2000 debut album, Blackalicious established themselves as one of the West Coast's top outfits in this vein, and while it was very good, their follow-up, Blazing Arrow, is simply fantastic, vaulting the duo to the forefront of the progressive hip-hop pack. Much of Blazing Arrow retains NIA's airy, laconic feel, but the group's sense of craft has improved to a startling degree; the hooks are sharper and more plentiful, Gift of Gab's rhymes are denser, Chief Xcel's production is more breathtakingly lush, and his arrangements more sophisticated. What's more, the tracks draw from a rich sonic palette -- not just the expected jazz-funk and old-school influences, but straight pop (check the Nilsson sample on the title track) and smooth soul (particularly the Philly variety, but also the contemporary neo-soul revival) in particular. In spite of the duo's intellectual bent, the grooves on Blazing Arrow exude a tremendous warmth that's only complemented by the positivity of their messages. And if Gift of Gab wasn't recognized among hip-hop's premier lyricists before, he certainly ought to be now; his raps are jam-packed with internal rhymes, allusions, metaphors, ten-cent words, and amazing tongue-twisting feats of skill. Guests include members of Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, and Latyrx (all worthy company), not to mention singer/songwriter Ben Harper, Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine), and the legendary Gil Scott-Heron. All the pieces add up to not just one of the best rap albums of 2002, but one of the richest, most captivating albums to emerge from hip-hop's artsy new underground.
© Steve Huey /TiVo

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Blazing Arrow

Blackalicious

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1
Introduction: Bow And Fire Album Version
00:01:06

Mario Caldato Jr., Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Blackalicious, MainArtist - Money Mark, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Vincent Segal, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Recording Arranger, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Paul Humphrey, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Harley White Jr., Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Robert Caranza, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Susan Bonaparte, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Syble Scovell, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Linda Parker, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Alfred Ortiz, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

2
Blazing Arrow Album Version
00:02:40

Blackalicious, MainArtist - HARRY NILSSON, ComposerLyricist - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Recording Arranger, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Robert Caranza, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

3
Sky Is Falling Album Version
00:02:26

Blackalicious, MainArtist - Vincent Segal, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Harley White Jr., Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Vursatyl, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Joyo Velarde, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Erinn Anova, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

4
First In Flight Album Version
00:04:32

Gil Scott-Heron, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Blackalicious, MainArtist - Vincent Segal, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Co-Producer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - ?uestlove, Producer - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - José Espinosa, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Harley White Jr., Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Seth Zwerling, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

5
Green Light: Now Begin Album Version
00:03:12

Blackalicious, MainArtist - Vincent Segal, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Harley White Jr., Bass Guitar, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Erinn Anova, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

6
4000 Miles Album Version
00:04:35

Lateef Daumont, ComposerLyricist - Mario Caldato Jr., Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Blackalicious, MainArtist - Money Mark, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Chali 2na, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vincent Segal, Cello, Violin, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Lateef The Truth Speaker, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Charles L. Stewart, ComposerLyricist - Robert Caranza, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alfred Ortiz, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

7
Nowhere Fast Album Version
00:06:41

Ben Kenney, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Blackalicious, MainArtist - Jeff Chestek, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Vincent Segal, Cello, AssociatedPerformer - Steve Mandell, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - James Poyser, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Co-Producer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Recording Arranger, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Ahmir Thompson, ComposerLyricist - ?uestlove, Producer - Omar Edwards, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Tracy Moore, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

8
Paragraph President Album Version
00:05:09

Blackalicious, MainArtist - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Recording Arranger, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Harley White Jr., Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

9
It's Going Down Album Version
00:03:44

Lateef Daumont, ComposerLyricist - Tony Cottrell, ComposerLyricist - Blackalicious, MainArtist - Kevin Guarnieri, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Hi-Tek, Producer, Co-Producer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Lateef The Truth Speaker, FeaturedArtist - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Shannon Showes, ComposerLyricist - KeKe Wyatt, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Harley White Jr., Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

10
Make You Feel That Way Album Version
00:03:26

Blackalicious, MainArtist - Vincent Segal, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Coleman, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Harley White Jr., Bass Guitar, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Duncan Scott, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

11
Brain Washers Album Version
00:06:22

Blackalicious, MainArtist - Oliver Charles, Clarinet, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Ben Harper, Producer, Guitar, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Recording Arranger, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Rail Jon Rogut, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Juan Nelson, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - The Innocent Criminals, Producer - Leon Lewis Mobley, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

12
Chemical Calisthenics Album Version
00:03:21

Blackalicious, MainArtist - The Count, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Mixer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Cut Chemist, Producer, Unknown, Other, FeaturedArtist - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Lucas McFadden, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

13
Aural Pleasure Album Version #2
00:04:47

Blackalicious, MainArtist - Andy Fairweather Low, ComposerLyricist - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jaguar Wright, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - José Espinosa, Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Harley White Jr., Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Seth Zwerling, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Jeff Chestak, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

14
Passion Album Version #2
00:03:54

Mario Caldato Jr., Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Babú, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Blackalicious, MainArtist - DJ Babu, Unknown, Other - Vincent Segal, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Unknown, Recording Arranger, Other, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Rakaa Taylor, ComposerLyricist - Rakaa, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Harley White Jr., Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Rakaa Iriscience, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Robert Caranza, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

15
Purest Love Album Version #2
00:04:03

Teak Underdue, Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Blackalicious, MainArtist - The Count, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bear, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Karl Denson, Flute, AssociatedPerformer - Vursatyl, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Joyo Velarde, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Erinn Anova, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Deejan Underdue, Trumpet, AssociatedPerformer - Damu Quarles, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

16
Release Album Version
00:09:26

Zack De La Rocha, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mario Caldato Jr., Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Blackalicious, MainArtist - Money Mark, Organ, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Vincent Segal, Cello, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Lyrics Born, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Paul Humphrey, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Saul Williams, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Harley White Jr., Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Robert Caranza, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alfred Ortiz, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Sela Kerr, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

17
Day One Album Version #2
00:04:51

Blackalicious, MainArtist - Vincent Segal, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - The Gift of Gab, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Chief Xcel, Producer, Recording Engineer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Russell "The Dragon" Elevado, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Parker, ComposerLyricist - Xavier Mosley, ComposerLyricist - Harley White Jr., Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Vursatyl, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Joyo Velarde, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Erinn Anova, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2002 UMG Recordings, Inc.

Album Description

The late '90s ushered in a second golden age of progressive hip-hop, as a group of ambitious young lions rose from the underground to redefine the art of lyrical technique and revive the idea that hip-hop had relevant statements to make. With their 2000 debut album, Blackalicious established themselves as one of the West Coast's top outfits in this vein, and while it was very good, their follow-up, Blazing Arrow, is simply fantastic, vaulting the duo to the forefront of the progressive hip-hop pack. Much of Blazing Arrow retains NIA's airy, laconic feel, but the group's sense of craft has improved to a startling degree; the hooks are sharper and more plentiful, Gift of Gab's rhymes are denser, Chief Xcel's production is more breathtakingly lush, and his arrangements more sophisticated. What's more, the tracks draw from a rich sonic palette -- not just the expected jazz-funk and old-school influences, but straight pop (check the Nilsson sample on the title track) and smooth soul (particularly the Philly variety, but also the contemporary neo-soul revival) in particular. In spite of the duo's intellectual bent, the grooves on Blazing Arrow exude a tremendous warmth that's only complemented by the positivity of their messages. And if Gift of Gab wasn't recognized among hip-hop's premier lyricists before, he certainly ought to be now; his raps are jam-packed with internal rhymes, allusions, metaphors, ten-cent words, and amazing tongue-twisting feats of skill. Guests include members of Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, and Latyrx (all worthy company), not to mention singer/songwriter Ben Harper, Zack de la Rocha (Rage Against the Machine), and the legendary Gil Scott-Heron. All the pieces add up to not just one of the best rap albums of 2002, but one of the richest, most captivating albums to emerge from hip-hop's artsy new underground.
© Steve Huey /TiVo

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