Blackalicious Rapper Gift of Gab Dead at 50

BY Brock ThiessenPublished Jun 25, 2021

Gift of Gab — the beloved Bay Area rapper who made up one half of Blackalicious — has died. Today it was confirmed the artist born Timothy Jerome Parker passed away of natural causes. He was 50.

"Tim peacefully departed this earth to be with our ancestors on Friday, June 18, 2021," his Quannum collective said in a statement today. "He is survived by two brothers, one sister, many nieces and nephews, countless friends, and fans across the globe. We ask that the family's privacy is respected as we mourn the tremendous loss of our dear brother."

Alongside producer Chief Xcel, Gift of Gab formed Blackalicious in 1992. Together the duo released their debut EP Melodica in 1994 via Solesides — the collective that eventually become Quannum and featured the likes of DJ Shadow, Lyrics Born and Pigeon John, among others.

Alongside the release of the hugely celebrated Quannum comp Spectrum in 1999, Blackalicious released their classic full-length studio effort Nia that same year on the Mo Wax imprint. Without question, the album continues to stand as a true classic in hip-hop and paved the way their beloved follow-up, 2002's Blazing Arrow.

In 2005, Blackalicious returned with their album The Craft before releasing Imani Vol. 1 in 2015.

Outside Blackalicious, Gift of Gab released a trio of solo albums: 2004's 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up, 2009's Escape 2 Mars and 2012's The Next Logical Progression.

In 2014, he was diagnosed with kidney failure — something that was explored in the 2016 documentary Gift of Gab.

"Our brother was an MC's MC who dedicated his life to his craft. One of the greatest to ever do it," Chief Xcel said in a statement today. "He's the most prolific person I've ever known. He was all about pushing the boundaries of his art form in the most authentic way possible. He truly believed in the healing power of music. He viewed himself as a vessel used by a higher power whose purpose was to give positive contributions to humanity through Rhyme."

Gift of Gab's manager Brian Ross added, "He was one of the most positive human beings I have ever known and always looking toward the future. He was endlessly brimming with new ideas, philosophical perspectives, and thoughts about the future. He was always ready to learn, grow and engage in a deep conversation about things he was less familiar with. A simple conversation with him about nearly anything could take you places you would never have expected."

The press release also adds that "Gift of Gab left behind nearly 100 tracks for future Blackalicious releases."

Below you can revisit some of Gift of Gab's many career highlights.

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