Rap veteran Timothy J. Parker, better known as Gift Of Gab of the Bay Area rap duo Blackalicious, has died at the age of 50, according to his label and crew, Quannum Projects in a press release.
Gab, perhaps still best known for the tongue-twisting Blackalicious single “Alphabet Aerobics” and the duo’s Blazing Arrow standout “Feel That Way,” was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2014. He underwent successful surgery in January of last year on the last night of the most recent Blackalicious tour. Despite working hard to recover, he passed away last week on Friday, June 18. He is survived by two brothers, one sister, and many nieces and nephews.
Gab’s manager Brian Ross said in a statement, “He was one of the most positive human beings I have ever known and always looking toward the future. He was endlessly brimming with new ideas, philosophical perspectives, and thoughts about the future. He was always ready to learn, grow and engage in a deep conversation about things he was less familiar with. A simple conversation with him about nearly anything could take you places you would never have expected.”
DJ Xcel, the other half of Blackalicious, wrote, “Our brother was an MCs’ MC who dedicated his life to his craft. One of the greatest to ever do it. He’s the most prolific person I’ve ever known. He was all about pushing the boundaries of his art form in the most authentic way possible. He truly believed in the healing power of music. He viewed himself as a vessel used by a higher power whose purpose was to give positive contributions to humanity through Rhyme.”
Quannum is planning future releases for “years to come” as Gab left behind nearly 100 tracks for upcoming and planned Blackalicious releases. Meanwhile, the hip-hop world will mourn the physical loss of one of its brightest, most dextrous, and most inspiring presences. Thanks for everything, Gab.