I want to talk to you about Blazing Arrow by the irrepressible Blackalicious.
This email has been in various stages of blank for over a week. I find it hard to feel adequate when describing this album. Every song is an experiment in sound and verse. Some soar higher than others, but each track is a backbeat to sincerity. There is an incommunicable energy that surrounds every word Gift of Gab carefully places into the universe. And here, on this album, like Nia before it, the words swirl, twist, and internalize in ever increasing complexity and honesty. Pair this with an equally unmatched and exploratory musical bed from Chief Xcel and you have, in this dweeb's opinion, one of the most wonderful music experiences ever given to mankind.
It starts with one of the most joyously self-referencing intros on any album. It may, rightfully, never make it on a list of Best Intros—
Most of this album is a love letter to the craft of rap and music. The title track, 4000 Miles, Paragraph President, and Chemical Calisthenics are all intricately formulated to share the joy of creating music with the listener. It's rare for a musician to offer that experience up so freely. And rarer still for it to be so transcendent. Every song seems to be in love with itself and bursting with pride that it exists. Simply wonderful.
Green Light: Now Begin and Make You Feel That Way are unapologetically positive and stunning sunny summer songs. Through some form of wizardry, nothing feels half-baked and nothing feels heavy handed. These songs are 5 course meals of energetic affirmation. Full, comforting, servings of your favorite foods.
Look, this album kicks all kinds of ass, is what I'm saying. Just do yourself a solid and listen to First In Flight or Day One. And then the entire project.
There is not another album that impacts me the way Blazing Arrow does. An album of songs created for the love of the song. Track after track of earnest musical exploration and lyrical R & D. I can only pray to notice the light as much as Gab and Xcel do on this album.