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Blazing Arrow

4.7 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 30, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Blackalicious ~ Blazing Arrow

Amazon.com

Blackalicious's debut, Nia, was grossly underrated despite emcees Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel's witty, Afro-centered conceptual leanings. Blazing Arrow picks up where Nia left off, but features a more mature-sounding duo utilizing even tighter beats and more cerebral rhymes. When they're teaming up with fellow West Coasters like Dilated Peoples' Rakka Iriscience ("Passion") or Jurassic 5's Chali 2NA ("4,000 Miles"), the results are off the meter. The sheer number of well-utilized guest spots from non-rap genres (Ben Harper, Rage Against the Machine's Zach de la Rocha) and downright catchy choruses ("Sky Is Falling," "Make You Feel That Way") expand mainstream rap's limited new-school paradigms in ways that are desperately needed. Although the duo still aren't anywhere near the most-skilled emcee's in the Bay Area's burgeoning underground movement, "Paragraph Preside" is a must-hear track, featuring wildly schizophrenic rhyme chemistry and wily wordplay. At a time when dullards like Fabolous get props for being a skilled emcee, any rhyme duo that is more interested in pushing envelopes than licking 'em deserves your ducats. --Dalton Higgins
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 30, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Geffen
  • ASIN: B000065DJ4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,549 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Alan Pounds on November 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The next level you ask? Gift of Gab's impenetrably ill lyricism over Chief Xcel's beautifully lush production is something that I would call legendary, unique, and dare I say - untouchable. Gift of Gab definitely possesses a gift that may have you questioning the talents of your favorite emcee. He has endless capabilities as far as his impressive jaw gymnastics are concerned. His rhymes are jam-packed with metaphors, varying tones and rhythms, impeccable precision, and of course lightning quick speed. Like label-mate Lyrics Born, Gift of Gab redefines breath control. But Gift of Gab is quite a bit faster, leaving the listener in awe, and confused as to wear he actually fits a breath in his repertoire. In another respect, he doesn't drop sickly fast rhymes the whole time (which would actually get old). He experiments with his flow like a DJ experiments with their record collection.

This is Blackalicious' major-label debut, released on MCA. And if it sound more expensive than "Nia" (2000), there's certainly good reason for it. The title track sweeps the listener into tranquillity with the gorgeous sampling of "Me And My Arrow" by H. Nilsson. "First in Flight" shines with Gil Scott-Heron as a guest vocalist. It also incorporates elements that would prove to be more prominent in there later works (2005's "The Craft") - live instrumentation. The track also showcases some of Gift of Gabs most impressive skills on the mic. The streak keeps going with "4000 miles" featuring Chali 2NA (of Jurassic 5) and Lateef (of Latyrx) and some of Chief Xcel's dopest production. The guests have arguably never sound better than they do hear. The only thing that wears on me slightly is the repetitive chorus ("Muusiic"). The ?uestlove produced "Nowhere Fast" remains a favorite.
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Format: Audio CD
This album has been percolating in my player for a year now and it's still as fresh as the day I bought it. One of the few perfect hip-hop albums, free of filler, featuring brilliant production and lyrics, it's just a wonder to listen to. I also have to give a special mention to the interludes after songs which are not given their own track on the album. The interlude after "Aural Pleasure" especially is pure poetry. They are like little nuggets of song ideas that add hugely to the completeness of this album.
Bow and Fire: the perfect intro, sets the mood. A
Blazing Arrow: blazing rhymes and a Harry Nilsson sample. A
Sky is Falling: another brilliant verse, killer chorus. A
First in Flight: just keeps getting better. the first highlight, and that's saying something. A+
Green Light Now Begin: laid-back, smart lyrics. A
4000 Miles: a "journey through music". joyous song. A
Nowhere Fast: the second highlight, devastating lyrics and great music. A+
Paragraph President: an entire song crafted out of a single line from a De La Soul track. not my favorite, but creative. A-
It's Going Down: poppy, but without sacrificing the smart lyrics. A
Make You Feel That Way: third highlight. the lyrics are simply at another level, perfectly fit the soothing music. A+
Brain Washers: not a personal favorite, but Ben Harper does a good job. A-
Chemical Calisthenics: break-neck tounge twisters, a chemistry lesson within three minutes. i hate chem, but not this song. A
Aural Pleasure: the truest title on the album. A
Passion: fiery song, awesome lyrics. A
Purest Love: another highlight, soulful shoutout from Gab to the people who inspired him - his family.
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Format: Audio CD
Blackalicious's new album shows Blackalicious evolving musically beyond what they did on their first LP, Nia, and doing it to awesome effect. Gift of Gab has improved as an MC and the production by Chief Xcel has gotten even more interesting.
If you aren't familiar with Gift of Gab, he's one of the best MCs in the game today. One thing about him is that he's able to vary his flow song to song which results in an extremely musical sound in his delivery. He also is able to rap fast and clear. In addition, he's intelligent and political.
The production on this album provides the listener with a big variety of cool sounding beats which all sound like classic hip hop.
There are a number of awesome collaborations on this album including the amazing "First In Flight" featuring the great Gil Scott-Heron, "4000 miles" featuring Chali 2NA of Jurassic 5 and Lateef the Truth Speaker of Latyrx, "Chemical Calisthenics" featuring sound collage wiz Cut Chemist of J5, "Aural Pleasure" featuring a really cool vocal from Jaguar Wright, and the mindblowing "Release" featuring Zach De La Rocha shouting release, Saul Williams the amazing poet, and Lyrics Born from Latyrx with a funky as hell verse. Obviously, there are a lot of collaborations on this album, but they all come off not sounding forced, and i was really impressed with the variety of sounds on the album. They sample a Harry Nilsson song for God's sakes!
This album is an amazing sonic journey that is inspiring and just makes you feel good. One of the best hip hop albums of 2002 thus far. Don't even think twice about copping this one.
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