Blackalicious doesn’t ski, but they’ve got other skills | VailDaily.com
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Blackalicious doesn’t ski, but they’ve got other skills

Scott Cunningham

Next Friday, Nov. 15, Vail gets a special treat when the hiphop duo Blackalicious comes to 8150, fresh off of their European tour in support of 2002’s release “Blazing Arrow.” The Trail caught up with MC Gift of Gab in Belfast where he’s been showing the Irish a thing or two about Left Coast music.VT: So how’s Ireland?Gab: Oh, I’m loving it. I’m loving it. The people here definitely have their own unique energy.VT: Is that old stereotype about overseas crowds being more hyper than U.S. crowds true?Gab: No, but there’s definitely a different appreciation out here. A show like this, beings that we come from the States, is something rare for them, and you can feel that.VT: I saw you guys in San Francisco a couple of years ago at the Solesides Reunion show, and you came out in white tuxedos with canes and top hats. Can we expect any similar theatrics in Vail?Gab: Oh, yeah. The visual aspect is part of the show. The skills come first, but a show is just like a song, you have to be creative. When we come into town, expect the unexpected.VT: What do you think the difference is between urban shows and rural shows? Not that Vail is rural, but it’s not L.A.Gab: You know, in places like Vail, it’s kind of like what we were talking about with the overseas shows. The locals feel like they have to represent. I get that vibe, and the shows are a lot more live. Not that I’m dissing on cities, but you have to prove yourself there, which is good for you, too.VT: I noticed in the liner notes for “Blazing Arrow” that you both give shouts to God first. Is that spiritual aspect of your life always with you?Gab: It’s the foundation of my life and my sanity. Without it, I wouldn’t be doing this.VT: So have you had a chance to see any of the big cathedrals in Europe?Gab: Man, that’s the thing about touring. There’s no time. On my days off, I sleep.VT: You’ve been touring a lot this year, huh?Gab: More than ever before. About 80 percent of this year we’ve spent on the road (he coughs).VT: Are you alright? Is it getting to you?Gab: No, I’m good. I’ve just got a little bit of a cold. It’s actually my first one this whole year. I’ve been good. You have to eat healthy on the road.VT: Will you have time to check out Vail while you’re here? Or will it be the same hectic schedule?Gab: Oh, I hope so, but I haven’t seen the schedule yet.VT: Because you know the mountain opens the day after your show. Do you ski?Gab: Well, I’ve had a couple bad experiences skiing.VT: Really? Like what?Gab: I’d rather not talk about it. Let’s just say I need more practice.VT: On a totally different note, what do you think about MP3’s being traded over the internet?Gab: As a fan, I understand it, but from an artist’s standpointbuy the record, too. Don’t just get it off the internet.VT: What are you a fan of right now, music-wise?Gab: I’m listening to this group from North Carolina called Little Brothers and my boys from Portland The Lifesavas. The new Scarface album is brilliant. The new Jurassic 5 album. Marvin Gaye. The Bob Marley box set.VT: Do you prefer music live or in headphones?Gab: I don’t prefer it either way. It’s good to be able to experience it live, and it’s good to be able to cool out by yourself. With Blackalicious, the show and the record are two halves of the same experience.VT: On the new album, you do a track with Gil Scott Heron. I’m a big fan, so I’d like to know what it was like working with him.Gab: Gil is one of my heroes. It was surreal and so comfortable all at the same time, like kicking it with an old uncle I’d never met. I was originally going to sing the hook, and then X (DJ Chief Xcel) heard it, and said “Gil Scott Heron would sound dope on this.” And it was funny because I was listening to a lot of him at the time, and he definitely influenced my writing. Luckily, we knew someone who could get a hold of him, and he was down for it.VT: What does the name “Blackalicious” mean?Gab: It just means good music from the soul, for the soul.


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