The Craft

The Craft

by Blackalicious


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The Craft

OutKast was only one of many rap artists to gain a profile among music fans of all stripes, even as they sold millions of records, but it must have been difficult for those in the hip-hop underground to greet their general commercial breakout with equanimity rather than jealousy. Big Boi and Andre 3000 became paragons of cool among teenagers and 30-somethings, owned the ears and wallets of generalist listeners as well as the critical cognoscenti, and earned glowing features in The Source and Rolling Stone. No doubt the San Francisco duo Blackalicious were watching OutKast as first Stankonia and then Speakerboxxx/The Love Below began crossing over, and though Blackalicious already commanded respect from thousands of hip-hop fans, their third full LP found them seeking out new audiences with a slightly greater emphasis on radio-ready pop (courtesy of soon-to-be single "Powers," a dead ringer for "Hey Ya"). For several tracks, producer Chief Xcel recruited the elements of a funk band to shoulder the weight usually carried by his unerring sampling sense, and the guitars-and-beats formula works very well (not least because Xcel and rapper Gift of Gab feel free to desert the formula periodically). Although Gift of Gab reveals a slight lack of material one year on from his first solo record, the band format helps Gab find different ways to deliver his vocals -- avoiding the crutch of his flashy speed raps from previous records. While the first half of the album may sound like a watered-down Blazing Arrow, everything picks up when the duo unveil two of the grooviest message tracks since Stevie Wonder's "Livin' for the City" in "The Fall and Rise of Elliot Brown" and "Black Diamonds and Pearls." As on Blazing Arrow, they make the most of an influences track by recruiting an elderly, potentially unstable performer -- here George Clinton, there Gil Scott-Heron -- by minimizing their contributions (but not their impact).

Product Details

Release Date: 09/27/2005
Label: Anti
UPC: 0045778674527
catalogNumber: 86745
Rank: 136095

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Blackalicious   Primary Artist
Peace   Master of Ceremonies
Jean-Marc Apap   Violin
George Clinton   Vocals
Alfredo Rolando Ortiz   Percussion
Vincent Segal   Bass,Piano,Cello,Electric Guitar,Electric Cello
Chief Xcel   Rap
Herve Cavelier   Viola
Lateef the Truthspeaker   Rap
Lyrics Born   Master of Ceremonies
Larry Saunders   Vocals
Ledisi   Vocals
Hervé "RV" Salters   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano
Gift of Gab   Rap
Karl Young   Bass
Lifesavas   Rap
Floetry   Rap
Marsha Ambrosius   Vocals
Sebastien Martel   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Natalie Stewart   Master of Ceremonies
Pigeon John   Rap
Teke Underduze   Synthesizer,Bass
Robert Collins   Vocals
Nyra Dynyese   Vocals
Brad Kobylczak   Vocals
Noa Schnall   Vocals
Syble Scovell   Vocals

Technical Credits

S. Martel   Composer
T.J. Parker   Composer
Mike Cresswell   Engineer
Chief Xcel   Producer,Engineer
T. Shimura   Composer
M. Davis   Composer
Gift of Gab   Composer
Xavier Mosley   Executive Producer
Timothy Parker   Executive Producer

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The Craft 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
"The Craft" is the perfect title for the new album by blackalicious. Bringing listeners back to the days of vinyle, with a positive attitude on life and music. Always fresh and always original, hands down one of the coolest bay area rap duos around. This is how real hip hop sounds, a touch of old with the new. Just listen to the album and find out for yourself.