This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
When people talk about West Coast rap, they think of L.A. gangsters like Dr. Dre and Snoop. But not all West Coast rappers live in L.A., and not all live the thug life.
Hip-hop duo Blackalicious hail from the northern California environs around Sacramento, and are more interested in possessing a high IQ than a low rider. Blazing Arrow, the second album from these cohorts of the influential DJ Shadow and the Quannum Projects collective, follows in the footsteps of their 2000 debut NIA. Influenced by the spaced-out, organic funk of George Clinton and The Roots, along with the whimsical wordplay and sampledelic sounds of De La Soul and Jungle Brothers, Blackalicious offer over an hour of laid-back grooves, Afro-centric positivism and artful adventurousness on First in Flight (featuring a Gil Scott-Heron vocal), Brain Washers (guest-starring Ben Harper) and Aural Pleasure (with Jaguar Wright). If you want hip-hop that makes you nod your head in thought and to the beat, these guys are on target.