Road Show 

Blackalicious, September 6 at The Big Easy

Blackalicious in Boise? Sweet.

In 1987, Xavier Mosley (Chief Xcel) met the San Fernando Valley native Tim Parker (Gift of Gab) at John F. Kennedy High School in Sacramento, California. In 1991, their friendship based on their shared love of hip-hop became a business relationship. They became Blackalicious.

Blackalicious has always had a faithful cult following, but with their release of Nia in 2000 and Blazing Arrow in 2002, more people got acquainted with these skilled emcees and their sounds. With funny, smart lyrics and deep rhythmic beats, these guys appeal to a variety of listeners and continue to gain popularity. Some of their songs are soft, almost sweet while others showcase withering wordplay. As experimental rappers, these guys have had to work hard to avoid labels that would stuff them into a category where they just don't belong. With their fifth LP, The Craft, this duo is definitely making it tough to pigeonhole. But people still try.

With lyrics like the ones in the track, "Chemical Calistenics," it's understandable why Blackalicious' type of music might be termed Nerd Rap: Neutron, proton, mass effect, lyrical oxidation, yo irrelevant/Mass spectrograph, your electron volt, atomic energy erupting/As I get all open on betacron, gamma rays thermo cracking/Cyclotron and any and every mic/You're on trans iridium, if you're always uranium/Molecules, spontaneous combustion, pow/Law of de-fi-nite pro-por-tion, gain-ing weight/I'm every element of brown. You generally won't hear a rapper contemplating the laws of physics and the chemical make-up of atmospheric chemicals. But instead of being obtuse or confusing, they are rhythmic and beautiful because they are laid over deep beats and melodies that reach way down to the soul of the music.

If you haven't heard Blackalicious before now and you like hip-hop, you need to get down to this show. Blackalicious is becoming a major player in the world of hip-hop and we're lucky they're stopping off here on their way to fame and fortune.

September 6, $19.50, Big Easy, 416 S. 9th Street. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m.

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