Signed to Quannum Projects in the 1990s alongside Lyrics Born, DJ Shadow, Chief Xcel, Lifesavas and Lateef the Truthspeaker, Gab rose to notoriety with Blackalicious on albums such as Blazing Arrow and Imani as well as his solo work. He leaves behind a storied legacy and countless people who loved him.
“It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we announce the passing of our dear brother, Timothy J. Parker a.k.a. The Gift of Gab,” Quannum said in a statement. “Tim peacefully departed this earth to be with our ancestors on Friday, June 18.
“He is survived by two brothers, one sister, many nieces and nephews, countless friends, and fans across the globe. We ask that the family’s privacy is respected as we mourn the tremendous loss of our dear brother.”
Chief Xcel, who founded Blackalicious with Gab, praised his late friend as an inimitable force blessed with an innate rhyming ability that was far superior to most other rappers.
“Our brother was an MCs’ MC who dedicated his life to his craft. One of the greatest to ever do it,” he said. “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.”
Gift of Gab battled serious health issues over the past decade. Diagnosed with kidney failure in 2014, he underwent years of dialysis until he was finally able to receive two new kidneys in 2020.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic put a wrench in his plans for tour, Gab remained focused on completing the next Blackalicious album and another solo record while taking care of his health.
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Gift of Gab’s manager Brian Ross said it best, noting, “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.”
Gift of Gab left behind nearly 100 tracks for future Blackalicious releases. Some of those were already scheduled for the next release, but more of Gab’s lyrical genius will be heard for years to come.
Although cause of death has not been revealed, it’s most likely he died of natural causes. HipHopDX sends our condolences to all those who cared about Gift of Gab — and there were a lot.