Blackalicious is a California-based hip hop duo made up of rapper Gift of Gab (born Timothy Parker) and DJ/producer Chief Xcel (born Xavier Mosley). They are noted for their intelligent, artistic approach to hip hop music. The pair have released three full-length albums (1999's Nia, 2002's Blazing Arrow and 2005's The Craft) that have won them considerable critical acclaim and a sizable following.
Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel first met through a mutual friend in 1987 while attending John F. Kennedy High School in Sacramento, California. The duo went separate ways after Parker graduated and moved to Los Angeles. However, they kept in touch by phone and were eventually reunited in 1992 in Davis. Chief Xcel, now a student at UC Davis, had started working with a crew named SoleSides, whose members included DJ Shadow, Lateef the Truthspeaker, and Lyrics Born. Parker and Mosley formally settled on the name Blackalicious ("good black music", according to Mosley) in 1992 and released their first vinyl single, "Swan Lake", on SoleSides Records (the SoleSides crew's own record label) in 1994. The song was an underground hit and Blackalicious subsequently released their debut EP, Melodica, in 1995, also on SoleSides Records.