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13 Reviews
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Soldiers & Lovers Everywhere . . .", 31 Dec 2005
By 
This review is from: Blazing Arrow (Audio CD)
Blackalicious' second full-length of their career, 'Blazing Arrow,' kicks off in style, with a musical introductory track, courtesy of Chief XL's considerable wizardry. We launch thereafter; weaving directly into Gift Of Gab's complex schemes, and high-octane flows on the title track. Echoes of what is still to come.
An enormous part of what makes this album such a knockout, is the sheer thick-blooded consistency of it -- combined with the diversity of the sound; the creative genious that stems from the chemistry between the two artists.
'Release,' standing at just over ten minutes long, features the stirring voice of former Rage Against The Machine front-man, Zach De La Rocha, along with renowned spoken word poet Saul Williams, and Quannum associate, Lyrics Born. This track -- arranged in three very seperate movements -- manages the difficult feat of being the most prominent "standout," on what is arguably one of the greatest albums of all time.
Elsewhere, 'Aural Pleasure' -- featuring the irrepressible vocal talents of Neo-Soul songstress, Jaguar Wright -- is a colourful ode to the beauty and the power of music. And we have an even greater treat, with the mythical Gil Scott-Heron appearing on the super-soulful cut 'First In Flight.' Other notable guest spots include Dilated Peoples' Rakaa Iriscience & DJ Babu on 'Passion,' Jurassic 5's Chali 2NA and Cut Chemist on '4000 Miles' and 'Chemical Calisthenics' respectively -- and Ben Harper on the cool 'Brain Washers'.
You will not hear many Hip-hop CDs better than this. This was, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite album of the last five years. If you like music at all, then you WILL want this in your collection.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance. Nothing less., 5 July 2002
This review is from: Blazing Arrow (Audio CD)
Admitted. This album did really surprise me. Having heard a few of the songs (Make you feel this way and Paragraph President), I knew that I was going to get a class album, but this good? I did not expect. The basics first: For anyone who doesn't know Blackalicious I can tell that the group consists of two people; DJ Chief Xcel and MC Gift to Gab (don't ask about the name, mkay?). Together they form the group called Blackalicious. What is noticable about this little group is their style. Gift To Gab's unique voice, and lightning fast way of rapping is sure to amaze everyone (and if not, you're truly not supposed to listen to hiphop).
Likewise, one can only be amazed by the skills shown by the DJ of the group, Chief Xcel. His beats are always spot on. Although he did not produce every single track on the cd, he produced or co-produced all but one. And it shows. Most of the beats are quite melodic, and if you're in doubt that he's on level with Gift To Gab, then let me dement all rumours at once. He's amazing. No other word for it.
Now, the album itself, spans over 17 tracks, and lasting an amazing 74 minutes (well helped on the way with the track release which lasts approx. 10 minutes. The tracks are varied and it's quite certain that there's something for everyone. 4000 Miles provides an excellent quite rocking beat, whilst featuring Chali 2NA of Jurassic 5 and Lateef the truth Speaker. In the other end we have "Make you feel this way", a truly unbelievable track, in the more quiet and philosophical end. The only common denominator I could find for the album is the funky 70's inspired, yet always fresh beats. The album features an amazing list of guest star appearances, including but not limited to J5, Ben Harper, Saul Williams, Dilated Peoples and so many other.
Conclusion: If I haven't said it already, I'd like to say it now. This album is truly the one experience I'm not that likely to forget in let's say... the next 5 years? Only downside is the choruses which are a bit dodgy on one or two of the tracks. But they shouldn't really be the reason for you not to buy this album. It's one of those experiences which gets better with every listen. So. If you dig thoughtfull, but varied and fastflowing hiphop, this is the one album you should get this year.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 2 Sep 2002
This review is from: Blazing Arrow (Audio CD)
I'm not sure I could praise this CD highly enough. This is an absolute cracker, far and away above the usual quality of hiphop music these days. Inventive lyrical word play backed by very catchy tunes: witness the insistant "nine to five" sound-a-like start of 'release', the base line on 'aural pleasure' or Gil Scott Heron's deep voice on 'first in flight', to pick a few highlights. It's worth buying this for 'chemical calisthenics' alone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blazing Blackalicious, 21 Jun 2003
By 
Mark (Cape Town, South Africa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blazing Arrow (Audio CD)
Blackalicious rises above the rest with their sickest album yet, Blazing Arrow. Nia was already a stand out with some really catchy choruses and especially baselines, an album which I considered was going to be hard to beat, but they pulled it off! With improved beats, catchier choruses and some added flavour provided by the ladies. The atmosfere which they created while jamming in Cape Town was crazy! Probably the best hip hop party ever hosted by Cape Town, the people were bouncing it up for almost 3 hours straight. They promoted their album with skill, mixing in a few songs from Nia, including A-G, Deception and a few more. Every time I listen to Blazing Arrow I remember them performing and just can't stop myself from bouncing it up. If you are a Blackalicious fan you simply need Blazing Arrow in your cd collection.
I consider it impossible to improve Blazing Arrow.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really what else could we expect except cutting edge grooves, 18 Jun 2002
This review is from: Blazing Arrow (Audio CD)
Balckalicious what can you say about them that has'nt been said before, they are dope hip hop personified. They are back again with tracks that show that they will forever be at the cutting edge of hip hip. The album is a refreshing change from the current trend of hip hop music that has become far to commercialised, while at the same time they have composed an album that will appeal to a massive audience. It is about time that Blackilcious become known to the masses, tracks such as 'Make You Feel That Way' and the 'Sky Is Falling' make the album worth buying, however if you are into commercialised music then steer clear cus you do not deserve to own this album. Says who, Says Me
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. Really, really brilliant., 4 Aug 2006
By 
Andy Raab (Shropshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blazing Arrow (Audio CD)
Every other review here says enough about the album for me to not bother, but I felt I have a duty.

This is an outstanding album. It is in my opinion the finest HipHop album ever committed to public release. It defies anything I could write.

Please please, do modern Hip Hop a favour -- Buy this album, you really won't be disappointed, and if you are, go listen to your D12 collection again and stop wasting your money on quality releases like this one.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old skool values with some fresh ideas, 23 Jun 2002
By 
A. L. Wood "Marmite Turkey" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blazing Arrow (Audio CD)
I've loved everything the Solesides/Quannum collective have put out since I picked up Latyrx's debut back in 1996. Where so many bands are killing rap and hip hop with the posturing "guns and ho's" ethic set to '80s pop samples, Blackalicious are maintaining rap's traditional focus on lyrical invention, poetry and verbal expression.
With that out of the way, the music itself is quite simply brilliant. Fantastic lyrics, beautifully delivered by Gift of Gab and some well-chosen guest performers, over Chief XL and DJ Shadow's backings. The music is just that - really musical, in contrast to the stock beat and sparse backing-sample trends of most modern rap. If you're a TRUE hip hop fan, and like your music aggressive at the same time as being soulful and thought-provoking, then this comes highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars ., 4 Oct 2007
This review is from: Blazing Arrow (Audio CD)
For me, this will always be the ultimate "I don't like rap but I like this" album. Jurassic 5 may hold that crown for the rest of the indie kids, but Blazing Arrow isn't an album that has to aimlessly venture back into the Golden Age to have fun. Everything here is firmly rooted in this millenium, from Xcel's eclectic production to Gab's rapid, ever-elequent rhymes. It's still the album I'll reach for this when I want to convert people to the genre. Great work!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eskimo Man, 5 Aug 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Blazing Arrow (Audio CD)
Have never written a review of an Album before, but just felt oblidged to write something about this Album. Black Arrow is one of those albums that you just keep listening to and thinking to yourself, I haven't heard an album this good in ages. Invariably, you go another protracted period before hearing an album that gives you that feeling.
The only comparison I can give to this Album in terms of freshness is Guru's Jazzmataz 1, a truely new departure from mainstream hip hop. The whole Album is great, but as a long time Gil Scott Heron fan, I found "First in Flight" the first highlight.
For what my humble opinion is worth... Buy this Album
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars warning! - masters at work, 11 July 2002
By 
simon gurney (london United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Blazing Arrow (Audio CD)
How to follow up Nia, impossible. Nia is an essential purchase, one of the best ever most catchy intelligent hip hop albums known to man.
Blackalicious dont seem to have been feeling the pressure, against all my expectations they ahve produced another super catchy hip hop symphony, this has so many diverse elements and styles, but catchy coruses and amazing vocal treatments stand out.
Not as outstandingly brilliant as Nia but try getting it out fo your CD player, see...!
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