Blackalicious – Melodica

So we had a party the other day where Andrew invited two sides of a broken couple that haven’t gotten along to well since the break-up. We’ll call them Dave and Tessa. They broke up almost a year ago, and I was perfectly willing to remain friends with both except that Tessa is crazy.

And by “crazy” I mean “batshit crazy.”

When the two were together, they spent most of their time being miserable as they tried to force things to work (I assume the sex was crazy good.) You could never tell from week to week whether they were broken up or back together. And I began to hear stories about their fights from Dave’s roommates. At first I didn’t believe them until I started seeing signs that the stories were true.

Tessa had shown up at Dave’s house one day and started a fight. She began screaming at him and running around his room trying to confiscate everything she had ever bought him. He told her to leave, but being insane, she refused.

Eventually he had to push her out of his room and lock the door. This is what Dave told me, and from the other witnesses said, I believed to be true. Unless you asked Tessa.

She began spreading her story like the flu at an office, and as she told me several times personally, I got to see the slow manipulation and exaggeration of what had occurred. First it was that Dave had pushed her, then became Dave shoved her before morphing into Dave “getting physical with her,” before finally landing on Dave hitting her. I wondered if she really believed it at that point, because she was still trying to get him back while she spread these stories.

After the break-up she spent months trying to turn as many of our group as she could against Dave. Dave on the other hand remained respectfully silent, despite Tessa’s accusations to the contrary. I sided with Dave…especially since all his stories were true. So at the party last week, it was clear that she still wasn’t over it as she attempted to whore it up for Dave’s benefit.

Thank God Dave has a normal girlfriend now and really could care less.

But since it’s been a week since I got a post in, allow me to focus you attention on the masterpiece of 90’s indie hip hop that is Blackalicious’s “Melodica.”

Chief X-Cel (Xavier Mosley) and Gift of Gab (Timothy Parker) met in 1987 while at JFK High up in Sac-Town (that’s what we call Sacramento here on the west-side) and discovered a mutual love of hip hop music. After graduation though, Parker moved to Los Angeles while Xavier stayed local at UC Davis and was part of the now infamous Solesides crew that included DJ Shadow, Lateef the truth Speaker and Lyrics Born who would eventually become the wonder duo known as Latyrix. Parker and Mosley stayed in touch though, and reunited in 1992 in Davis and formed Blackalicious.

By then, Solesides had their own label and the two released their first single in 1994, the DJ Shadow produced vinyl only single ‘Swan Lake.’ Underground response to the 12″ was huge and the group followed it up with their debut EP “Melodica” the very next year.

The thing that always amazed me was how hard it was to lay your hands on a copy of this at the time and even now.  After years of searching, I’ve only seen one vinyl copy…thank got for Serato and the internet.

“Melodica” isn’t a huge album at only 7 tracks (11 if you got the import with instrumentals included) but it is an immensely satisfying one. The sound runs he gamut between the slow your roll vibe of ’40oz for Breakfast’ to the jumping party track ‘Rhymes for The Deaf, Dumb and Blind’ and it runs it well. It can cover the night of drinking just as good as it can the morning after.

Now days you can just download it off most of the illegitimate music sites out there( iTunes: Take notice and put this shit up you dumb asses!!!), or plunk down some serious scratch for a Japanese import. And tune in next week when I discuss just how outrageous and unfair Japanese imports are.


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