The Craft Blackalicious
CD Review by Mike D'Ariano

Track listing:
1. World of Vibrations 2. Supreme People 3. Rhythm Sticks 4. Powers 5. Your Move
6. Lotus Flower 7. My Pen & Pad 8. Side To Side 9. Automatique
10. The Fall & Rise of Elliot Brown 11. Black Diamonds & Pearls 12. Give It To You
13. Egosonic War Drums 14. The Craft

Label: Anti / Release date: 9/27/2005

Let's get down to brass tacks, I'm not a big fan of hip-hop. That said, I'm not closed minded, and I can honestly say that The Streets' "A Grand Don't Come For Free" was my favorite album of 2004 and that the Dangerdoom CD reviewed elsewhere in this issue is one of my favorites of this year. And now we can add The Craft to that very short list of contemporary hip-hop albums that I find both intelligent and enjoyable.

The intelligent part is the key. I find that I really enjoy hip-hop when the songs aren't about how much money the MC has, how many people he's killed, and what products he likes to buy. I mean Jesus, I like Ruffles All Natural Sea Salted potato chips, but you don't see me name dropping them in all my reviews. Anyway, there's none of that here. In fact, on "Lotus Flowers," there's a line that says "I didn't come to rhyme about no Smith and Wesson." That says it all.

Then there's the sound of the record, which brings us to the enjoyable part. Each song on "The Craft" has a slightly different feel from the beats to the flow of the lyrics and it creates an exciting ever-changing landscape. It brings to mind a lot of the Parliament/Funkadelic stuff, and then out of nowhere . . . George Clinton is on the album! It all fits perfectly and gets better each time you hear it. So in the end, if you like hip-hop, run out and get this album ASAP, and if you don't like hip-hop, you still might like it, so check it out if you can.