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LAist Interview: Gift of Gab from Blackalicious

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Gift of Gab is the MC for the legendary rap duo Blackalicious. I've seen Blackalicious at the Glass House in Pomona Many years ago, and watched Gab keep a packed house in awe as spit out the hits, and took time outs to showcase his incredible freestyle abilities. Since then he's put out some solo stuff, has continued to be critically acclaimed, and remains a fan favorite.

On August 15th (aka this Wednesday) Gift of Gab is going to rock the House of Blues with DJ Z-Trip and Aceyalone. So we thought it would be good timing to get Gab on the phone, see what he had to say, and ask him a few random questions.

LAist: What are the best and worst things about being a successful rapper such as yourself?

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Gift of Gab: Lotta good things, man. The travel, you know just being there making a living doing what i want to do. To be able to live this life and make a living is a blessing. Traveling is so dope, but it's also the hard part. Being away from my family so much, and missing them.

What do you do to unwind and relax when you got the day off?

i like getting massages, i like reading, i like books. You know what i mean? hang out with the people i grew up with.

Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?

The list is too long. I am a fan first. I study the artist. That's why i became so good, because i studied the artist.

Where's the best place to buy clothes?

For me, i always go to this place called Casual Male Big and Tall, they got all the latest stuff, and cool stuff, and i am a big dude, so they carry clothes for myself. Casual Male in the bay, others in the country don't have the same stuff.

What were you for Halloween as a kid?
Man, these are some funny questions (laughs) Let me see if i can even remember. I think i was Mr. Spock one year...

What's the best thing about Los Angeles?

Um, the weather is good and one of the best things about Los Angeles. It's a good place to be, but its good and bad because it's so over saturated, you know?

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Do you smoke weed? And what do you think about these recent DEA Raids on the medical marijuana clinics?

I've been on the road, so i didn't hear what happened, tell me about it.

Well there's been clashes with the federal government and the local city and state government, resulting in DEA raids on the clinics, with the support of the LAPD, even though Californian voters approved of the clinics...

I smoke a little weed, but I don't smoke every day, but i always thought it was very hypocritical that alcohol and cigarettes are legal. As much crazy violent irrational behavior that alcohol produces... and i don't see that with marijuana, maybe a little self analyzing, so i thought it was always hypocritical, man. You know?

What current slang do you find yourself using these days? anything funny or noteworthy?

ummm... what do you mean "using"?

I don't know, you don't have any new slang then?


What non hip hop things do you listen to?

Everything, man. I'm really into rock right now, Metallica, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix. I am really trying to open my ears up, and see if i can get inspired by other genres and add them to my style.

You're from Pacoima, what was it like growing up there?

it was cool, I gotta big family, and there was a lotta love just like any other family. Yeah Pacoima, man, its a cool place.

What food you got in your fridge / what are you favorite restaurants?
Um, what food do i got in my fridge? I was on a low carb diet until i got on the road, so a lot of lean meat, a lot of fish, and a lot of veggitables. A lot of tea. i am a tea connisuer now. I'm trying to get into the different herbal flavors and qualities.

And as far as restaurants, even though I'm on this low carb diet, I like Zachary's Pizza in Oakland. It's like a slice of pie, it's not even flat. It's about an inch and a half high.

What's the last movie you actually saw in the theater?
I watched "The Warriors" Deluxe DVD, and we watched it on the tour bus. I haven't seen that movie since i was a teen ager.

What advice do you have for young people wanting to make it in the rap game?
Believe in your vision, work hard at it everyday, don't let anyone tell you what you can and what you can't achieve, and put God first.

Go see Gift of Gab @ The House of Blues 08/15/07, then go get Gab's album.

Photo from Quannum