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Gift of Gab (1971–2021), rapper with Blackalicious

by Linnea Crowther

Gift of Gab was a rapper with the hip hop duo Blackalicious, known for songs including “Alphabet Aerobics.”


Gift of Gab, born Tim Parker, joined his classmate Chief Xcel (Xavier Moseley) to form Blackalicious in the early 1990s. They released their first single, “Swan Lake,” in 1994, followed by their 1995 debut EP “Melodica.” Blackalicious signed with MCA Records and released the 2002 hit single “Make You Feel That Way.” They continued recording together for decades, releasing “Imani Vo. 1” in 2015 and recently preparing for a follow-up. Gift of Gab became known for his fast, creative, and lyrical rapping. He also released several solo albums with the Quannum Projects collective.

Notable quote

“We’re fans of not only hip-hop but music in general. We’re always keeping our ears on what’s coming out, what’s happening in music and where the music is going. We study everybody, and we study all things music and it keeps us motivated. It keeps us wanting to raise our bar. It keeps us wanting to make albums that will stand out – and I think for us, something like that never gets old.” —from a 2015 interview for Above Average Hip Hop


Tributes to Gift of Gab

Full obituary: Pitchfork

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