Blackalicious - The Kazimier
Live Review

Blackalicious – The Kazimier, Liverpool

First things first, it’s only fair that we apologise for the extreme tardiness of this review. In all honesty though, when a legendary hip hop crew like Blackalicious roll through town on a Saturday night, it was never going to end in an early night or a subsequently pleasant and timely start to the working week was it? When a gig’s this good, one does not simply go home and go to bed. One gets blackout drunk.

It’s something of a crime that after two decades in hip hop and a string of underground hits that it took Boy Wizard and all round gonk Daniel Radcliffe doing a cover of their loquacious tongue twister ‘Alphabet Aerobics’ on Jimmy Kimmel’s inane US chat show recently to bring them into the mainstream spotlight. However, thank him we must, for this duo proved once again that hip hop is alive and well and, believe it or not, in rude health in Liverpool. The latest in a string of hotter-than-hot shows from local promoters Bam!Bam!Bam! to showcase the grass roots of the 90’s hip hop movement, it was another triumphant and well received blast from the past that had the party variously going from “over here” to “over there” and many a hand waving in the air, often like it just did not care.

Comprised of dextrously verbose rapper Gift of Gab (aka the slightly-less-hip-hop-sounding Timothy Parker) and DJ/producer Chief Xcel (aka the slightly-cooler-sounding Xavier Mosley), the Sacramento duo have earned respect the old-fashioned way; rising through the ranks with honesty, commitment, and artistry – all of which are on display tonight. From the mind-bending wordplay that Gab handles with ease to the classic beats produced by Xcel, the crowd are in the palm of their hands from start to finish.

A torrent of fast-paced and intelligent rhymes fly out of Gift of Gab at eye watering speed in a set comprising of Blackalicious standards like the aforementioned ‘Alphabet Aerobics’, the minimal and percussive ‘Rhythm Sticks’ and the reggae tinged old school of ‘Blazing Arrow’. Much like the rest of the crowd, we feel ourselves slowly losing touch with the world outside and only existing within the soulful and dynamic world that Gab so artfully paints with his conscientious and evocative lyricism. There’s an indescribable and heart-warming high from a great hip hop show that’s hard to find elsewhere in live music – a real sense of community and togetherness that transcends the usual gig experience. By the end of the show, we’re right there in the middle, with a grin plastered across our faces from ear to ear and a burning desire to paint the town red.

Ending the night with the announcement that their fourth LP, Emoni, will be released in March 2015, we can only hope they’ll be back to play the new tracks live – but maybe not until this hangover has gone, eh lads?

– Jamie Otsa

Venue: The Kazimier, Liverpool
Support Band: n/a

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