Published Apr 21, 2015Having previously hinted at an upcoming trilogy of LPs in a recent Exclaim! interview, Bay Area rap unit Blackalicious have now revealed that the first volume lands this summer. Their Imani, Vol. 1 arrives as an independent release on August 14.
Marking the first full-length from the outfit since 2005's The Craft, the group's latest catalogue entry has been in the works for the last three years. Rapper Gift of Gab and producer/DJ Chief Xcel are reportedly doing what they know best, and are said to be filling the LP with "tongue-twisting wordplay" and a mix of beats and live instrumentation.
"In 2012, we came together like 'Okay, it's time to go back to the mothership'," Gab told Exclaim! back in January. "I equate working with different artists to travel... when you come back to your city after travelling to these other places, you have this broader perspective of what life is. I think that that's what happened with Blackalicious."
Though a tracklisting has yet to arrive in full, you can sample the brassy and bouncy new single "On Fire Tonight" down below.
In addition to the core Blackalicious crew, Imani, Vol. 1 also features appearances from Lifesavas, Latyrx's Lateef the Truthspeaker, Lyrics Brown, funk band Monophonics, Zap Mama, Fantastic Negrito, Bosko, Myron, Imani Coppola, and Amde Hamilton.
Despite that hefty guestlist, Gift of Gab told Exclaim! that, in regards to the first volume of Imani, "We wanted to keep the focus closer to us."
He added, "Vol. 2 may be a bit more guest-heavy, but this one... we want people to get Blackalicious."
Since the album is being pressed up by the band themselves, a PledgeMusic campaign has been started to help offset the costs. In addition to pre-ordering Imani, Vol. 1 on CD or LP, you can pitch in by purchasing signed posters, a cupcake in a jar, a pair of Blackalicious-themed sneakers, or by booking a day in the studio with the duo.
You'll find more info on how to help out over here.