DJ Shadow paid tribute to BlackaliciousGift of Gab following news of the rapper’s death at the age of 50. “He was, quite simply, the most preternaturally gifted MC I’ve ever worked with,” the producer wrote of the rapper, born Timothy Parker, on Instagram.

“Our brother Tim, having walked this earth as a student of life for over 50 years, has graduated to the next plane of existence,” DJ Shadow wrote. “He begins his renewed travels accompanied by the many spiritual attributes developed during his time among us mortals: his wry sense of humor, his unlimited kindness, his abundant humility… his ability to entertain, to awe… his adeptness not only at teaching, but at learning.”

DJ Shadow and Blackalicious were part of the hip-hop scene that came out of the University of California – Davis in the mid-Nineties. In his tribute, Shadow remembered his first encounter with Gift of Gab, which came after his friend, Blackalicious DJ Chief Xcel, hyped up the rapper. Gift of Gab then wowed DJ Shadow with a freestyle. “His voice was perfect, his wordplay endlessly inventive,” Shadow wrote.

“I never thought I’d cross paths with an actual rapper like them that valued skills and expressive freedom over image and aesthetic. In an industry with so many frauds and followers, Tim park was more than just original; he was unique.”

DJ Shadow continued, “Gab loved to think of life as just a momentary stage of a much longer journey, and all its trials and tribulations as ‘training’ for the adventures to come after. If there’s one thing I know, wherever Gab is, he’s SOARING right now.”

Chief Xcel also shared a lengthy remembrance of his longtime Blackalicious partner on social media. He remembered how he and Parker first met when they were both students at a Sacramento high school. “That day marked the beginning of our journey. 34 years of brotherhood, deep friendship, artistic inspiration, and musical exploration,” Chief Xcel wrote.

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