The Spinners

Blazing Arrow (Blackalicious, 2002)

In American, Dodo Dayao, Hiphop on April 10, 2010 at 11:51 am

Utopians, by nature, have range and imagination and symmetry, so if Blazing Arrow feels a lot less misfit than Nia, it’s in the way the rich, dense sprawl stitches together, vision-wise, and thank the hip-hop gods that Gift of Gab and producer Chief XCel have the ears to make it progressive and focused but never monochromatic and never pretentious. That’s when the Sgt.Pepper parallels start to make sense and don’t seem too far-fetched. Who’d ever thought a Harry Nillson sample could finish up such a funky cause-and-effect on the title track?  And why the hell hasn’t anyone had the will to resurrect Gil Scott Heron, who guest-croons beautifully on “First In Flight”? Drop-ins (Zach De La Rocha, Jaguar Wright, Ben Harper) that work, adventurous rhythms and rhyme upgrade. Utopian possibility was never synonymous with utopian positivity but Gift of Gab’s words make it so, if only by default. Hip-hop humanism now has a new spokesman. 

– Dodo Dayao

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