Gift of Gab, the underground Bay Area rapper best known as one half of the Blackalicious duo, died of natural causes. The artist, nee Timothy Jerome Parker, was 50 years old. “Tim left this earth peacefully on Friday, June 18, 2021 to be with our ancestors,” his quannum collective said in a statement. “He leaves behind two brothers, a sister, many nieces and nephews, countless friends and fans all over the world. We ask that family privacy be respected as we mourn the tremendous loss of our dear brother. “
Gift of Gab founded in 1992 with DJ and producer Chief Xcel Blackalicious. The duo released their debut EP Melodica in 1994 through Solesides, a label and collective that also included DJ Shadow, Lyrics Born, and others. In the late 90s, Solesides morphed into Quannum, which made the notable compilation Spectrum in 1999; Spectrum contributors included Blackalicious, DJ Shadow, El-P, Souls of Mischief, and Jurassic 5.
Shortly after the release of Spectrum, Blackalicious released their full-length debut Nia. The album helped Blackalicious get a deal with Universal Music’s MCA Records, who released Blazing Arrow in 2002. The duo returned to the indies for The Craft from 2005, which was released through ANTI, and later only shared one more full-length album, Imani Vol. 1.
Gift of Gab released three solo studio albums during his lifetime: 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up from 2004, Escape 2 Mars from 2009 and The Next Logical Progression from 2012. He was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2014 and described his journey with the disease in the documentary Gift of Gab from 2016. A press release states that “Gift of Gab left nearly 100 tracks for future Blackalicious releases.”
“Our brother was an MC’s MC who dedicated his life to his craft. One of the greatest who has ever made it, ”Chief Xcel said in a statement. “He’s the most productive person I’ve ever known. His aim was to push the boundaries of his art form in the most authentic way possible. He really believed in the healing power of music. He saw himself as a vessel of a higher power, the purpose of which was to make a positive contribution to humanity through Rhyme. “
Gift from Gab’s manager Brian Ross added, “He was one of the most positive people I have ever met and always looked to the future. It was infinitely bursting with new ideas, philosophical perspectives and thoughts about the future. He was always ready to learn, grow, and have a deep conversation about things he was less familiar with. A simple conversation with him about almost anything could take you to places you never expected. “