US West Coast hip-hop has come to be associated, for better or worse, with the gangsta rap and G-Funk of early ’90s Los Angeles. Yet the region is also home to a parallel lineage: underground musicians seeking to promote positivity through their beats and rhymes. Emerging from Sacramento with their debut album ‘Nia’ in 1992, Blackalicious are one such outfit. Originally aligned with the Solesides collective from Northern California – which included Lyrics Born, Lateef the Truth Speaker and DJ Shadow – the duo have become respected artists in their field, known for the lyrical playfulness of MC Gift of Gab and the uplifting beats of DJ/Producer Chief Excel.
After receiving wider recognition for their second album ‘Blazing Arrow’ in 2002, Blackalicious are bringing to an end a 10-year hiatus that ensued following the release of 2005’s ‘The Craft’. They will be on tour to promote their new LP Emoni, which drops this March. Their show at The Fleece on 3 February, supported by Dizraeli and DJ Downlow, will be a chance to sample some hip hop of the highest quality.
Check out ‘Deception’ right here: