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Gift of Gab performing at the Prospect Park bandshell for Celebrate Brooklyn 2013.
Gift of Gab performing at the Prospect Park bandshell for Celebrate Brooklyn 2013.
Photo by Al Pereira for WireImage via Getty Images

Gift of Gab, Blackalicious' Agile Anchor, Dead at 50

Blackalicious' DJ Chief Xcel announced the rapper's passing on Friday morning.

Gift of Gab, a staple of Bay Area hip-hop and the frontman for Blackalicious, has died. He was 50-years-old.

The announcement of the rapper's death arrived Friday morning from longtime collaborator and Blackalicious co-founder, Chief Xcel. "It is with much sadness and a heavy heart I announce the passing of my friend and brother of 34 years, Timothy Jerome Parker aka The Gift of Gab." wrote Xcel in a post on Parker's Instagram account this morning. "He returned peacefully to the essence on June 18, 2021," Xcel added before detailing the group's origins.

Known for an agile delivery that could jump from mid-tempo to warpspeed in one breath (see"Alphabet Aerobics,") Parker was central to the Bay Area's embrace of East Coast pacing. As Blackalicious, Gab and Xcel recorded three EPs and four full-length studio projects. Their debut EP, Melodica, was released in 1995, by rap collective-turned-label, Solesides (whose roster included DJ Shadow, Lyrics Born, and Lateef The Truthspeaker.) A few years later, as Solesides morphed into Quannum Projects, the duo released their first album proper, Nia, with the label, recieving rave reviews from critics and pedestrians alike.

In the hours following his death, friends, peers, and fans shared memories of and tributes to Gift of Gab across Twitter and Instagram. Read through some of the send-ups below.