Blazing Arrow

Blazing Arrow

4.6 6
by Blackalicious
     
 
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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

The Source - Jon Caramanica
Blazing Arrow, the follow-up to 2000's Nia, is a powerfully optimistic, stunningly melodic and intensely lyrical opus celebrating the affirming values of life on the straight and narrow.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/30/2002
Label:
Mca
UPC:
0008811280628
catalogNumber:
112806

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blackalicious   Primary Artist
Paul Humphrey   Drums
Anthony Coleman   Trumpet
Erinn Anova   Vocals
Zack de la Rocha   Vocals
De La Soul   Track Performer
Ben Harper   Guitar,Vocals
Leon Mobley   Percussion
Money Mark   Organ,Piano
James Poyser   Keyboards
Gil Scott-Heron   Vocals
Harley White   Bass,Keyboards
Karl Denson   Flute
Juan Nelson   Bass
Vincent Segal   Percussion,Strings,Cello,Electric Cello
Cut Chemist   scratching
Seth "Slim" Zwerling   Trumpet
?uestlove   Drums
Alfred Ortiz   Percussion
Lateef the Truthspeaker   Vocals
Lyrics Born   Vocals
Saul Williams   Vocals
Joyo Velarde   Vocals
Jose Espinoza   Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Chali 2na   Vocals
Gift of Gab   Vocals
Rakaa-Iriscience   Vocals,Track Performer
Keke Wyatt   Vocals
Jaguar Wright   Vocals
Tracey Moore   Vocals
Ben Kenney   Bass
Oliver Charles   Clarinet,fender rhodes
Omar Edwards   Keyboards
Syble Scovell   Vocals
Linda Parker   Vocals

Technical Credits

DJ Hi-Tek   Producer,Engineer
Robert Russell Bennett   Management
Mario Caldato   Engineer
Ben Harper   Producer
Steve Mandell   Engineer
Rail Jon Rogut   Engineer
DJ Shadow   Producer
DJ Babu   Cut
Cut Chemist   Producer,Cut
Chief Xcel   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer,Cut
?uestlove   Composer
Kevin Guarnieri   Engineer
Innocent Criminals   Producer
Xavier Mosley   Executive Producer
Timothy Parker   Executive Producer
Dave Jolicouer   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Blazing Arrow 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The whole essence of Hip-Hop is being creative and different in your expression. This Album gives you that exactly. Walkin the lines of Groups like De La Soul, and The Roots; Blazing Arrow takes a flow of head rockin songs right to the mind and makes you think about things like Space, Battle, and Togetherness. This album contains flavors of Jazz, Blues, Chanting, and Soul. But has the Thumpin Beats, Scratching and Mcing. It goes back to the roots, in a way that you don't hear everyday from rap albums. This is not your basic empty rap trash you hear everday If you want to just dance you can find it on this Album. If you want something you don't hear on the radio these days it's on this album. If you want something where you can sit back and chill to, play this album from track one. If you've been thinking that Rap is dead? Do yourself a favor and get Blazing Arrow and give it a good listen, it'll give ya hope.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hip Hop still has a pulse!!In a time when so called rappers like Mystikal,Ja Rule,Jay-Z etc... are flooding the radio waves,this album is nothing less than a breath of fresh air.Thanx Blackalicious.
Guest More than 1 year ago
great cd with good hip hop music guaranteed to make your head nod
Guest More than 1 year ago
As Emeril would say it...BAM! This album is bangin from beginning to end. You want nice hip-hop with a spiritual flare? This is the CD. Between the sick production and the discustingly clever lyrics this album is hard to beat. I've been listening to hip-hop for a long time and haven't heard anything this good in a while. I'm looking forward to their next album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I used to despise the rap/hip hop genre with a passion. This album has made me reconsider. It's remarkably deep ¿ the lyrics offer a refreshing blend of political/social commentary, emotion, and attitude. "Paragraph President" and "Release" are especially good examples of this. Plus, the musical styles vary a great deal, so listening to it never gets tiring. Check this stuff out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album seems more commercial that some in the past, but it still sounds like their old school stuff, and the beats are just as tight.