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Emporium Chicago - Arcade Bar Venue
1366 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60622
$5 ADV TICKETS // 21+ // 1366 N MILWAUKEE AVE
Gift of Gab (Blackalicious)
Gift of Gab made his name as the technically adept MC in the vaunted underground rap duo Blackalicious, in partnership with producer/DJ Chief Xcel. Born Tim Parker, he grew up mostly in Pacoima, part of L.A.'s San Fernando Valley region, but attended high school in Sacramento. There he first met Chief Xcel (born Xavier Mosley) in 1987. Parker, then calling himself Tiny T or Gabby T, was already developing keen skills as a battle MC, and he and Mosley teamed up the following year. After graduating, Parker returned to Los Angeles, but he and Mosley kept up their partnership by phone. While attending UC-Davis, Mosley fell in with a group of hip-hop eccentrics who became the SoleSides collective, and Parker moved up to the Bay Area to join him in 1991, now having settled on Gift of Gab as his hip-hop alter ego. Blackalicious issued their debut single, «Swan Lake,» on SoleSides in 1994, and several more followed, establishing their underground reputation and leading to a tour of Europe. They began work on a full-length album, during which time SoleSides shut down and reconfigured itself as Quannum; however, the process was long and laborious, as Gift of Gab struggled with an alcohol problem that took several years to overcome. Finally, in 1999, Blackalicious re-emerged with the A2G EP, whose «Alphabet Aerobics» electrified the underground and marked Gift of Gab as a prodigious new talent. That talent was confirmed by Blackalicious' first two full-lengths, 2000's NIA and 2002's Blazing Arrow, which elevated him to the status of perhaps the most underappreciated elite MC in hip-hop. In the wake of Blazing Arrow's critical hosannas, Gift of Gabbranched out with a number of guest appearances, recording with the likes of DJ Vadim, British hip-hoppers New Flesh, and Michael Franti & Spearhead. In early 2003, he underwent emergency eye surgery necessitated by complications from diabetes, but fortunately made a full recovery. Seeking outside collaborators to keep himself fresh for the third Blackalicious album, Gift of Gab embarked on a solo project for Quannum with two Seattle-based producers, Vitamin D and Jake One. Advance single «The Writz» appeared in late 2003, and the album itself, 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up, arrived in the spring of 2004. Reviews of the production work varied widely, but overall the record — a smooth, mellow affair — solidified Gift of Gab's position as one of the top MCs of his time, underground or otherwise.
Landon Wordswell is a 29 year old Los Angeles, CA resident by way of St. Louis. Those cities combined have influenced the emcee's tenacity, perspective, and insight. Landon's stage performance & delivery have been praised on tours both nationally & internationally for it's captivating crowd appeal & intricate rhyme schemes being coupled with tightly knitted personal lyrics. He has mastered his stage performance over the years by performing nights for audience's enjoying intimate showings of 20 folks to state of the art venues mounting in as many as 10,000 heads in attendance. Along with touring the United States with his frequent tour partner, Gift of Gab (Blackalicious), he has also completed a full European tour with the legendary Artifacts. Landon Wordswell has also performed alongside greats such as Mos Def, The Game, Talib Kweli, Slum Village, Warren G, Mobb Deep, Blackalicious, Lyrics Born, Black Milk, Zion I, Raekwon (Wu-Tang), Jeru The Damaja, Guilty Simpson, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Devin The Dude, Binary Star, Aceyalone, Freestyle Fellowship & many, many more!
If your father, Robert Kelly of the R&B/Gospel/Soul group «The Kelly Brothers,» performed alongside Funk & Soul legends like James Brown & Sam Cooke, chances are being a product of your environment meant only one thing…following the path of musicianship set directly before him. Chicago-based Hip-Hop artist Neak draws vivid verbal portraits which find inspiration in the spirit of U.S. culture and his own deep-seating personal experiences. Naming Nas, Mos Def, Common, Lupe Fiasco, MF Doom, Elzhi, Jay-Z, etc. as his main lyrical influences, Neak preserves the aesthetics of true-to-life Rap; authenticity, originality, and excellence all evoke a heartfelt emotion for listeners of his music.
theWHOevers is the eclectic hip-hop duo of DotKom and J. Arthur out of Chicago. With one foot firmly planted in the boom-bap motifs of hip-hop's golden age and another reaching forward into the future of the genre, the pair creates music that is at once comfortable and progressive. Although its evident the duos musical roots are influenced by a number of musical genres, they use inspiration, imagination and life experiences to produce honest lyrical content, consistently winning over even the most diverse crowds.
Mostafa is a lyricist based out of the Northwest with a passion for the words. As a firm believer in the theory «Art imitates life», he constantly strives to bring the reality of life as he knows it through the music in a creative way. His energetic live performance and vocal clarity on stage has allowed him to tour nationally with Gift Of Gab (Blackalicious) and Landon Wordswell, as well as share stages and collaborate with artists such as Talib Kweli, Dead Prez, Heiroglyphics, Zion I, Oddisee, Lyrics Born and many more.
Sponsored by New Belgium Brewing