Blackalicious have released their first DVD which is primarily a recording of one of their shows from the Showbox Theatre in Seattle in the Northwest of the USA. It took place on the 20th of April as part of the 45 day tour they undertook with the likes of Lateef, Pigeon John, LifeSavas and Fat Lip of the Pharcyde.
You can choose to watch the Blackalicious portion of the whole show straight through, or choose to watch the DVD as a feature which features the show interspersed with quotes from the audience, interviews with the artists and backstage footage etc.
The show starts off with Alphabet Aerobics in which we see why Gift Of The Gab is able to take this title as his moniker. He spits the carefully crafted verses which use a multitude of words beginning with each letter of the alphabet in turn. Through the track the tempo pick up until GOB is throwing out the syllables in truly outstanding fashion. This is an awesome sight and as such starts the show in tremendous fashion ensuring that the audience are suitably hyped.
Gift Of The Gab demonstrates how to keep a show moving along sweetly along with DJ Chief Xcel who moves between some CD decks and the usual 1200’s with ease. Excellent / Pad & Pen follows. Gift Of The Gab is not too animated on stage, but he takes care to enunciate his words carefully making sure everyone can hear. These are some great good feeling tracks which the crowd give it up noisily for, singing along to the main choruses that they know.
Blackalicious perform with some extra vocalists and a keyboard player for a show which more than your generic stage show. The track list features some of Blackalicious’ best tracks including Blazing Arrow, Rhythm Sticks and Rock The Spot. What is most impressive though is GOB’s ability to keep on flinging out the verbals double pace for the whole show.
For the second half of the show Gift Of The Gab is joined on stage by Lateef the Truth Speaker. Halfway Home gives Chief Xcel and the other instrumentalists a chance to go solo for a while as Gift Of The Gab recoups for Chemical Calisthenics which he needs a lot of breath for! The show finishes off with Lateef returning to the satge along with Pigeon John for an energy fuelled posse cut.
During some of the interviews, both Gift Of The Gab and Chief Xcel breakdown how they came by their names and some of their history, how they met in high school etc. There are also insights into their influences, what they feel about Hip Hop and working with all the artists they have as well as touching on the importance to them of the internet as independent artists.
The special features on the DVD are interesting and worth having but seem a touch short. The first is a look around the tour bus which is quite luxurious when compared to how they have travelled in the past. It seems the whole Quannum Projects crew are all travelling in the same bus, but they all have their own quarters and we get insights into their dietary habits and other stuff as well.
You can also choose to watch the music video for one of Blackalicious’ earlier tracks – Deception, which is demonstrative of their conscious subject matter and is also an interesting look back in time.
Overall the DVD is dope. It showcases Blackalicious in a good light and the sound quality as well as the picture quality is outstanding. If Blackalicious are your thing, then I would suggest that this DVD is unmissable.