ENTERTAINMENT

Blackalicious Rapper Gift of Gab Dead at 50

Gift of Gab rapper Timothy Parker has died at the age of 50.

Parker, one half of Bay Area duo Blackalicious, passed away of natural causes on June 18, a representative tells Rolling Stone. In 2014, he was diagnosed with kidney failure and underwent dialysis multiple times a week before receiving a new kidney in January 2020.

“It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear brother, Timothy J. Parker a.k.a. The Gift of Gab,” Gab’s crew Quannum said in a statement Friday. “Tim peacefully departed this earth to be with our ancestors on Friday, June 18, 2021. 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.”

Parker’s longtime friend and Blackalicious bandmate Xavier “Chief Xcel” Mosley added, “Our brother was an MCs’ MC who dedicated his life to his craft. One of the greatest to ever do it. 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.”

Parker and Mosley attended high school together and formed Blackalicious while Mosley was a student at University of California, Davis. They released a series of EPs in the mid-90s including 1999’s A2G, which spawned “Alphabet Aerobics.” Blackalicious dropped its debut album Nia in 1999, followed by 2002’s Blazing Arrows, 2005’s The Craft, and its latest, 2015’s Imani Vol. 1.

Gift of Gab also released a trio of solo albums, most recently 2012’s The Next Logical Progression, along with projects with the Bay Area supergroups Quannum MCs and the Mighty Underdogs.

Parker left behind nearly 100 tracks for future Blackalicious releases. “Some of those were already slated for the next release, but more of Gab’s lyrical genius will be heard for years to come,” said a rep.

The hip-hop community is mourning the loss including Run the Jewels’ El-P, who tweeted, “thank you Gift of Gab. amazing artist and wonderful, kind person.”

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