Errol Nazareth of the Toronto Eye spoke with Talib Kweli and asked him what he thinks about the lack of political voices in hip hop. “Artists are writing those songs. It’s the media and the corporations who are suppressing these songs and messages.” He cited The Roots and Blackalicious and says “major corporations haven’t represented hip-hop positively.”
Zac Crain of the Dallas Observer spoke with Nu-Mark of Jurassic 5 who spoke out against the commercial hip hop that is pervasive on the airwaves when his group, Dilated Peoples, Mos Def, Talib Kweli and Blackalicious have a much tougher time. “Oh, yeah. I mean, there’s no doubt about it. It’s not even a debate, I don’t think, I mean, unless you got something I don’t know about,” Nu Mark said. “That’s what’s on the radio, and that’s what people are buying. People wanna hear MCs talk sh** about women and degrade ’em. Especially women. It’s been proven that they buy most of the records. I don’t know. I can’t explain it. If I was a woman, I wouldn’t wanna be called a bitch or a slut or a ho or whatever. This music is quirky like that. But all you gotta do is do what comes from your heart.”
DaveyD.com reports recently the Not In Our Name project took out a full page ad in the New York Times opposing War on Iraq. Among the signees were fellow Hip Hop artists Mos Def, Ozomatli and Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples. During the Public Enemy show in New York, Blackalicious announced on stage that they would be out at the Central Park Rally later today in New York. Check out more on the Not In Our Name project here.
James Ferris of the Pittsburgh City Paper chatted with Blackalicious members Chief Xcel and Gift of Gab. Explaining why they went with MCA, Gab said, “The reason we went with MCA is, number one, their roster — the groups that they have, like Common and the Roots. We could see they knew somewhat how to market a group more … like us. Also, they were able to give us all of our creative control. … [T]hey were the only label willing to come to us like that.”
Public Enemy will begin a twenty-one-date fall tour with Dilated Peoples and Blackalicious on September 14th in Richmond, Virginia. Meanwhile, PE’s Chuck D addressed his song ‘Son of a Bush’ to RollingStone.com saying, “It addresses the almost forgotten governor term that launched him into cheating the presidential election in the first place..”
BeThere.tv has a clip of Blackalicious from their performance at New York’s Columbia University earlier this year. They talked in the group’s tour bus with Chief Xcel and Gift of Gab also. BeThere.tv has since shut down.
MuchMusic recently spoke with Gift of Gab of Blackalicious about the grouip’s mission of making music with a purpose. “Music is here to do a lot of things. Music is here to lift you up and motivate you,” he said. “I’ve always been into artists that have a message that is uplifting like when I listen to people like Bob Marley or Curtis Mayfield, it’s almost like going to church. Whatever I’m going through in my life, I can put that on and that’s like medicine for the soul. I believe that that’s what part of our job as musicians is.”
Bobby Wilms of In Music We Trust interviewed Chief Xcel and Gift of Gab from Blackalicious and asked about his personal struggle a few years back, which was the basis of thought on ‘Blazing Arrow’. “You are constantly finding yourself,” he said. “It’s not like one situation happens and all of a sudden, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve found…’ You know what I mean? It’s constant, you know what I’m sayin’, it’s forever. Things are constantly happening, you know. Every day gets that clearer. It’s not just one event. A lot of people are like, ‘Oh you’ve had a struggle, and you’ve become this.’ It’s constant growth. That’s just where I happen to be personally at that time– You see, your headspace can be at one place, one time, and then you can grow and you can become wiser, and you can have a new perspective on it. With me I just always speak from the heart. But a lot of people blow things up.” The full story at inmusicwetrust.com has since been removed.
Beat magazine of Australia spoke with Chief Xcel of Blackalicious who commented on how quickly they began work on ‘Blazing Arrow’, their follow up to ‘Nia’. “The very first song we wrote for the album was actually the title-track, ‘Blazing Arrow’. And, we actually started working on that probably about three weeks after we left the studio after finishing ‘Nia’,” he explained. “That’s the thing with Gab and I: we’re always writing. I’m always producing, he’s always writing lyrics. There’s always work in progress, and Blackalicious is always a work in progress.”
DeMarco Williams of INsite magazine spoke with Chief Xcel and Gift of Gab from Blackalicious, getting their take on what cycle they feel hip hop is currently in. Xcel said, “I kinda feel like we’re on that upswing; this is just me speaking instinctually. We’re at that period right before [De La Soul’s] Three Feet High & Rising dropped. People are just waiting to see what happens.” Gab added, “Yeah, with all the people he mentioned, there’s a renaissance happening right now. It’s just taking effect, but it’s already started.”