Blackalicious: Chief Xcel, Gift Of Gab (rap vocals).
Additional personnel includes: Ben Harper (vocals, guitar); Gil Scott-Heron, Jaguar Wright (vocals); Chali 2NA, Lateff The Truth Speaker, Keke Wyatt, Rakaa, Babu, Saul Williams, Lyrics Born (rap vocals); Karl Denson (flute); Anthony Coleman (trumpet); Money Mark (piano, organ); Paul Humphrey, Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson (drums); Cut Chemist.
Producers include: Chief Xcel, ?uestlove, Hi-Tek, Ben Harper, The Innocent Criminals.
Engineers include: Chief Xcel, Mario Cldato, Robert Caranza.
For progressive hip-hop acts, aesthetic and commercial success seem to rarely walk hand in hand. Blackalicious proves to be an exception to that rule with BLAZING ARROW. Pessimists might suggest that the album's chart placing is due to the impressive array of guest stars, from old-school rap poet Gil Scott-Heron to R&B siren Jaguar Wright and rock-pop fave Ben Harper. While these guests do give an indication of the breadth of influences and styles present here, they are only the tip of the iceberg.
"I'll build my heaven on what is here" Blackalicious offers on "Nowhere Fast," giving both an example of their positive lyrical outlook and indication of the sonic riches so abundant on BLAZING ARROW. An impressive array of sophisticated sonic collage elements, hard-grooving funk rhythms, strings, and free-flowing, intelligent raps are at the heart of this complex-yet-organic recording. You'll hear none of the soundalike synth riffs and jeep beats that plague so much cookie-cutter hip-hop. These guys are blazing a new path.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (7/11/02, p.112) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...Lazy and lovely...made all the more mellow by the gently bumping lines of bassist Harley White Jr....ARROW is erudite and ambitious..."
Spin (6/02, p.111) - 6 out of 10 - "...Their new direction goes down smoother than a cup of chamomile tea..."
Q (8/02, p.120) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Thoroughly entertaining..."
NME (Magazine) (6/15/02, p.29) - 6 out of 10 - "...Mystical spiritual journeys and intricate wordplay....A cohesive whole..."
- Intro: Bow & Fire
- Blazing Arrow
- Sky Is Falling
- First In Flight - (featuring Gil Scott-Heron)
- Green Light: Now Begin
- 4000 Miles - (featuring Chali 2NA/Lateef The Truth Speaker)
- Nowhere Fast
- Paragraph President
- It's Going Down - (featuring Lateef The Truth Speaker/KeKe Wyatt)
- Make You Feel That Way
- Brain Washers - (featuring Ben Harper)
- Chemical Calisthenics - (featuring Cut Chemist)
- Aural Pleasure - (featuring Jaguar Wright)
- Passion - (featuring Rakaa/Babu)
- Purest Love
- Release - (featuring Saul Williams/Lyrics Born)
- Day One