Blackalicious's Gift of Gab Talks Trinumeral and the Unifying Force Called Hip-Hop

When a baby's born with a microphone in his mouth and a name like Gift of Gab, there's no denying he's gonna grow up to be a badass MC. It's almost like the rap gods have got their finger on the boy from the very first minute, steering him toward the studio and feeding him a non-stop stream of superhuman freestyle.

OK, so that's not exactly how it happened for Gab (real name Timothy Parker), one half of underground rap duo Blackalicious. His ascent took hustle, even if his flow was always godlike.

Tonight, he and partner Chief Xcel take over Trinumeral's second night at White Room. Buy a ticket and then check the cut for Gab's answers to a couple of Crossfade's questions.

New Times: Why do you think the festival scene's turned into such a mash-up? Are people just listening to a wider range of stuff now?

Gift of Gab: That's part of it. But I think as music grows more genres come up. Electronica and dubstep are very similar to early hip-hop in that those genres are a subculture and they haven't really been commercialized. You know, hip-hop started out as a countercultural movement. And obviously we've still got hip-hop that's counterculture. But a lot of it is so mainstream now that when something emerges, like electronica and dubstep, the younger people run for that instead.

What are your listening habits? Have you always dug into different kinds of music?

The older I get, the more I feel like that. There was a time in my life when I only listened to a certain kind of music. But as I grow, especially being an artist, I think the best thing you can do is study every genre and understand it because it only adds to your perspective.

OK. When you see, say, electro-poppers on the festival circuit, can you being into that music even if doesn't connect at all to what you're doing?

I'm just a fan of good music. I'm a fan of whatever moves me. I'm not biased at all. If I'm feelin' it and it moves me a certain way, I'm into it. I'm not about discriminating.

Do you think it's a good thing that the music scene is becoming more mixed-up and hybridized?

I do. Hip-hop's always been about crossover. You can take rock and you can make it hip-hop. You can take country and make it hip-hop. Hip-hop has the ability to morph.

I guess, like Trinumeral, it's all about bringing people together.

I think that's the goal of all art, including sports entertainment. Those are the only two things where if it's dope, it's dope. And if there's talent, there's talent.

When was the last time you hit Miami?

It's been a minute, man. Last time Blackalicious did a show in Miami ... It was like seven years ago. I love the energy out there. But for whatever reason, we've only done Miami once.

Seven years ... So what exactly do you have planned for tonight?

Oh, it's gonna be classic Blackalicious. Definitely classic Blackalicious.

The Trinumeral Festival. Saturday, October 9. White Room, 1306 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Doors open at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $15 to $25.

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S. Pajot