In the past decade, positive, old-school hip-hop collectives have bridged the gap between rap devotees and newcomers, and The Roots have reigned supreme in that effort thanks to hot albums, collabs with Cody Chestnutt and Jay-Z and a richer, full-band sound. But in concert, The Roots can lose their hip-hop bite, sometimes even stretching into jam territory with squealing guitar solos. No thanks, man. Gimme Blackalicious. The 13-year-old Cali rap group doesn't have a band, but their straight-up attack on blinged-out rap is supplemented in their upcoming full-length The Craft with mega-catchy, genre-bending tracks like "Lotus Flower" and "Hey Ya"-killer "Powers," which MCs Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel will surely debut while stunning the crowd with breathless, witty rhymes.
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sam Machkovech