Blackalicious - Blazing Arrow This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     "Release" - it's ten minutes long - features Saul Williams, a poet/rapper, and Zack de la Rocha, formerly of the uber-political metal group Rage Against The Machine. This sounds nothing like the typical modern-day musical genre called hip-hop. "Release" was created by the musical duo of rapper The Gift of Gab and producer Chief Xcel, together known as Blackalicious, whose fourth album is "Blazing Arrow."

"Release" is the second to last track on this album and seems to be the piece de resistance, but there is more. "Release" alone would make getting this CD worthwhile, but Blackalicious are very talented multi-genre performers and have packed their album with a mix of hip-hop, funk and classic soul. They also have an amazing ability to change tempo dramatically and still come out with a really good sounding song.

Their ability to tempo change also helps to divide a song into manageable segments. On "Release" the tempo changes from a regular Blackalicious song to poetry by Saul Williams to another typical Blackalicious song.

Another reason Blackalicious is not your typical hip-hop group is the content of the songs. There is no bling-bling or mention of cheese on this record. Blackalicious actually talks about real issues.

The album is musically very good. Xcel plays a bunch of instruments and uses dynamics to make the songs sound nice. The use of organic instruments coincides well with the typical hip-hop instruments. Even though "Release" is too long, the song is still worth it and the CD checks out, too.

All in all, Blackalicous made a good record.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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