Gift of Gab has been rapping for 20 years, making memorable tracks with Blackalicious as well as other side projects and his solo act. Still his name doesn’t often enough get mentioned along with those of the great MCs.
It seems fitting he would enjoy coming through a town like Corvallis so much. We also don’t get the credit we deserve for innovation.
Gift of Gab will be playing at Cloud & Kelly’s on Thursday, Nov. 14 with Oregon’s own Landon Wordswell.
Wordswell came to Oregon by way of St. Louis, moving to Portland originally as a member of the band Speakerminds. After leaving the band to pursue a solo career, he moved to Eugene and has been making music there for the last four years.
His debut album, The Mourning After Pill, came out in March to largely positive reviews. He’s been touring steadily since its release, including shows with Gift of Gab and Bend’s own Mosley Wotta.
Blackalicious put out its first EP, Melodica, in 1994. Their last album was in 2005 and Gab has been releasing music and touring steadily during the hiatus. A new album by the famed Bay Area duo is slated for later this year.
Along with DJ/producer Chief Xcel, Gift of Gab (born Tim Parker) helped put Sacramento on the map. Around the same time Blackalicious hit the scene, fellow Sacramentan Brotha Lynch Hung released his first record. The two acts couldn’t be more different in style or tone: Blackalicious is lively, hyperliterate, and steeped in classic hooks and samples, whereas Lynch Hung is one of the pioneers of horrorcore, and altogether darker. They are both however legends of successful independent hip hop.
Blackalicious was an important band in the alternative hip-hop evolution, an heir to the likes of De La Soul and Tribe Called Quest, though not as prolific. They were also a contrast to the hyphy scene dominant in the Bay Area.
Gift of Gab has played in Corvallis at Cloud & Kelly’s before, also with Wordswell. It’s a peculiarly small venue for such a big name, but they come back every six months because they love the intimate atmosphere and the passionate Corvallis fans.
“That’s my favorite place to play in Corvallis,” says Wordwell, “because every time we go to Corvallis, it’s always packed out.”
If you want to become more familiar with Gift of Gab before the show, check out the indispensable Nia, the first album by Blackalicious, or Escape 2 Mars, his second solo album.
Landon Wordswell’s album, The Mourning After Pill, is available at www.cultclassicrecords.bandcamp.com, and the excellent Fountain of Youth II, featuring tracks with MegaRan and others, is available at www.landonwordswell.bandcamp.com.
Gift of Gab & Landon Wordswell will be at Cloud & Kelly’s on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 9 p.m.
by Ygal Kaufman