Blackalicious - Imani, Vol. 1: Instrumentals (2xLP)
Instrumental version of Imani, Vol. 1, the fourth studio album and first in a decade by the critically-lauded hip hop duo. Ten years after 2005's The Craft comes Blackalicious' self-release, Imani, Vol. 1. Three years in the works, the album stays true to rapper Gift of Gab's clever tongue-twisting wordplay and DJ/producer Chief Xcel's unique beats. First volume of a trilogy with appearances from Lifesavas, Lateef, Lyrics Born, funk band Monophonics, polyphonic Afro-Pop singer Zap Mama, and Fantastic Negrito who won a performance on NPR's Tiny Desk. Like a few other West Coast rap acts, including the Pharcyde and Jurassic 5, Blackalicious has generally favored what hip-hoppers call the "positive tip"; in other words, it's 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.