Blackalicious emcee Gift of Gab has died. The Bay Area rapper, born Timothy Jerome Parker, was 50 years old. A statement from the Quannum label collective reads, “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 formed Blackalicious with DJ and producer DJ Xcel in 1992. The duo released their debut EP Melodica in 1994, via the Solesides label. Solesides eventually became Quannum, which also featured artists such as Lateef and Lyrics Born and DJ Shadow. The duo released their debut album Nia in 1999, which raised the group’s prominence and eventually found them signing to major label MCA, which released their 2002 album Blazing Arrow. The group released only two albums after that, The Craft in 2005, and 2015’s Imani Vol. 1.
“We supported each other before I even understood what that meant,” said Lateef the Truth Speaker via Twitter. “I was invested in helping him shine his light, and, I always felt, Vice versa. Tim Parker, AKA The Gift of Gab was one of the greatest rappers ever. But more than that, he was an incredible person.”
DJ Shadow says in a statement, “In an industry with so many frauds and followers, Tim Parker was more than just original; he was unique. And he was, quite simply, the most preternaturally gifted MC I’ve ever worked with. … If there’s one thing I know, wherever Gab is, he’s SOARING right now. We love and miss you, Tim.”
Gab’s musical partner Chief Xcel says, “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.”