In a hip-hop career that has stretched past a decade, Blackalicious has earned respect the old-fashioned way–rising through honesty, commitment, and artistry. Blackalicious is an American hip hop duo from Sacramento, California made up of rapper Gift of Gab (born Tim Parker) and DJ/producer Chief Xcel (born Xavier Mosley). They are noted for Gift of Gab’s often “tongue-twisting”, multisyllabic, complex rhymes and Chief Xcel’s “classic” beats.

Like a few other West Coast rap acts, including the Pharcyde andJurassic 5, Blackalicious has generally favored what hip-hoppers call the “positive tip”; in other words, its lyrics have often been spiritual and uplifting rather than violent or misogynous. Like a lot of experimental alternative rappers, Blackalicious can be quirky and eccentric; nonetheless, spirituality is a big part of the group’s music. Although Blackalicious wasn’t formed until the early ’90s, its members had known each other since the late ’80s. Founding members Gift of Gab (Timothy Parker) and Chief Xcel (Xavier Mosley) first met in Sacramento, CA, in 1987 when they were students at John F. Kennedy High School. Neither of them was originally from Sacramento; DJ/producer Xcel (who was going by DJ IceSki at the time) was a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, while rapper Gift of Gab was from Los Angeles’ suburban San Fernando Valley.

The two went their separate ways after Gift of Gab (also known as Gabby T) graduated from Kennedy High in 1989, but they were reunited in Davis, CA, in 1992. By that time, Xcel had become a student at the University of California at Davis and the Gift of Gabhad moved to Davis to form Blackalicious with him. UC Davis was where Xcel had started working with a hip-hop crew named SoleSides, whose members included DJ Shadow, Lateef the Truth Speaker, and Lyrics Born. SoleSides Records was the name of the SoleSides Crew’s Northern California record company and in 1994, that label released Blackalicious’ debut single “Swan Lake.” Although not a triple-platinum smash, the single was a small underground hit that fared well among alternative rap audiences. The following year, SoleSides Records released a Blackalicious EP titled Melodica. By late 1997, SoleSides Records had transformed into Quannum Records, and in 1999, Quannum put out another Blackalicious EP, A2G.

In 2000, Quannum released the group’s full-length debut Nia (whose title is the Swahili word for purpose). After being together eight years, Blackalicious finally signed with a major label when, in late 2000, the Californians were added by MCA. In April 2002, Quannum/MCA released Blazing Arrow, which boasted guest appearances ranging from vocalist Zack de la Rocha (of Rage Against the Machine) to the Roots’ ?uestlove to veteran soul singerGil Scott-Heron. After the requisite tour, both Xcel and Gab began developing solo material; Quannum released both Maroons’ Ambush (Chief Xcel with Latyrx’s Lateef the Truth Speaker) as well as a Gift of Gab solo LP, Fourth Dimensional Rocketships Going Up. The pair returned in 2005 for their third album, The Craft, with a contract in hand from the Anti- label. By Alex Henderson – All Music Guide.

Orgone or·gone (ôr'g?n) noun

1. A universal life force, a cosmic unit of energy, the creative force in nature.
2. Eight souls from Los Angeles who will move your ass and melt your face.

Pronounced with a long second "O," the Los Angeles band Orgone is dedicated to heavy, raw, adrenaline-fueled funk and sweat-dripping soul. With a core rhythm section of close friends and self-taught musicians steeped in local DJ culture, Orgone has spent the last decade expanding their roster and evolving a sound rooted in old school respect but pulsing with the force of the new millennium. Orgone has become a staple on the festival circuit while gaining a reputation among fellow artists as one of the baddest go-to backing bands on the planet. Always evolving musically and cosmically, Orgone continues to connect with kindred musical spirits throughout the universe with relentless touring and the upcoming release of their fifth full-length album. Starting out as an instrumental five piece by friends with a love of funk records, Orgone cut their teeth putting their own gritty takes on cuts by the Meters, Booker T. & the MGs, Grant Green and Funkadelic among others. In 2002, the band independently released Orgone, a collection of tough, stripped-down, funk instrumentals that Relix Magazine called "intoxicating" and that quickly became a favorite of die-hard, funk fans. Orgone solidified that underground respect in 2006, adding a powerful horn section and releasing their second album, Bacano, a set of all-original, cold-blooded funk gems in the classic vein of War and Mandrill with improved, warm, organic production that matched the evolution of the band's sound. The release of their cover of "Funky Nassau" on both 7" and 12" became a an instant dance floor classic, inspiring a club-edit by renowned DJ Danny Krivit and paving the way for The Killion Floor in 2007, Orgone's first full-length album for the legendary Ubiquity Records.

Orgone proved their continued evolution when the critically-acclaimed Cali Fever was released in 2010. The album was musical chameleon, shifting between West Coast cool, New Orleans grit, Lagos afrobeat, and heavy Mothership funk, taking, in the words of Dusty Groove America, "a rough, rugged, and uber soulful live funk vibe into a deeper and even livelier realm!" Released later the same year, an all-instrumental album The Killion Vaults showcased Orgone's

Beaus$Eros, the seventh full-length from indie rap trailblazer Busdriver, forgoes the lightening-speed rhyming that defined his style in favor of a diverse, off-kilter brand of pop and post-hip-hop. Called "...as technically impressive as an MC can get" by Pitchfork and others, Busdriver has made his most personal and avant-garde work yet with Beaus$Eros. Focusing on a devastating break-up and personal failure, the album is buttered in stirring melodies and complex vocals. In step with Busdriver's recent work with forward-thinking producers Flying Lotus, Modeselektor, Nosaj Thing and others, the production on Beaus$Eros takes root in beat music, lush IDM, and sythpop.

Inarguably one of the premiere risk takers in modern indie rap, Busdriver has been a fixture in the scene for ten years, releasing compelling left-field rap albums on taste-maker labels like Mush, Big Dada, Alphapup, Polyvinyl and Anti-. Performing and collaborating regularly with acts likes The Roots, CocoRosie, Aesop Rock, The Glitch Mob, Deerhoof, the beatmakers of Low End Theory and more, his place in the network of left-leaning musicians is as unique as it's ever been.

Up-and-coming Belgian production wiz Loden doctors every moment on Beaus$Eros as the album's only producer. Without ever physically meeting or speaking live, the two manage an electric synergy that usually comes from years of working together. Loden's Hindenburg-sized beats push Busdriver's croons and spat thoughts into difficult-to-label territory. Think Bjork's Post filtered through the sensibility of Outkast's The Love Below with outsider artist goals hidden in every measure. Beaus$Eros is the colorful sum of his wildly adaptive voice in music and proof that he still reigns over entire undiscovered worlds to which his loyal following is now invited.

Possessing a hyper-literate, intellectual style of rapping augmented with dizzying elocution that would tongue-tie even the fiercest auctioneer, Busdriver is eclectic and eccentric enough to cite vocalese jazz singer Jon Hendricks as a primary influence. Born Regan Farquhar, the Los Angeles MC was introduced to hip-hop culture early -- his father wrote the screenplay to one of the earliest films focusing on hip-hop, Krush Groove. He began rapping at age nine, releasing his first record at age 13 with his group, 4/29, named after the 1992 L.A. riots. By the mid-'90s, Busdriver was a regular at the Project Blowed open mic, where he would meet future collaborators and underground luminaries like Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, and Freestyle Fellowship. And shortly after, the vinyl did flow.

Busdriver guested on upward of 20 singles, and by 2001 he could no longer be contained by guest spots, releasing his first full-length, Memoirs of the Elephant Man. There were just as many detractors as supporters for his singular style, which was so densely packed it made his chosen name seem a reference for multiple-personality disorder, and the lo-fi production also left more listeners scratching heads than nodding them. His next album, This Machine Kills Fashion Tips (2002), continued in a similar manner before being trumped by better production and more focused rhymes on Temporary Forever the same year. Joined by another West Coast avant-garde MC, Radioinactive, and the breezy, fractured pop of electronic producer Daedelus, Busdriver released yet another odd puzzle piece in 2003, The Weather. Fear of a Black Tangent followed on Mush in 2005. After moving to Anti-/Epitaph, the rapper issued RoadKillOvercoat, which featured production from Nobody and Boom Bip. His second Anti- release, Jhelli Beam, appeared in 2009. In 2010 he put out a full-length mix tape of unreleased gems and illegal remixes called Computer Cooties. It was released as a free album.

2010 saw Bus toiling over a new album that will shock fans and confuse the unconverted into unwilling servitude. It is called Beaus$Eros and will be released in February 2012 on Fake Four.

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Blackalicious with Orgone, Busdriver

Friday, August 2 · 8:30 PM at Echoplex