Rapper Gift of Gab, one half of the Bay Area hip-hop duo Blackalicious, has died aged 50.
The other half of Blackalicious, DJ Xavier “Chief Xcel” Mosley, confirmed the news in a statement posted to the duo’s official Instagram.
“It is with much sadness and a heavy heart I announce the passing of my friend and brother of 34 years, Timothy Jerome Parker aka The Gift of Gab,” Mosley wrote. “He returned peacefully to the essence on June 18, 2021.”
Gift of Gab’s manager Brian Ross added, “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.”
“Tim peacefully departed this earth to be with our ancestors on Friday, June 18, 2021,” Gab’s Quannum collective said in a statement. “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.”
A representative for Blackalicious told Rolling Stone that Parker had died of natural causes. The rapper had dealt with a number of health issues over the years, having dialysis and a kidney transplant in January 2020.
Best known for the tongue-twisting single “Alphabet Aerobics”, which Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe famously covered on The Tonight Show in 2015, Blackalicious formed in the Nineties while Mosley attended the University of California Davis. Together, the pair teamed up with Davis-area artists DJ Shadow and Lyrics Born.
Their critically acclaimed debut album, Nia, dropped in 1999. Its follow-up, AG2, came out that same year and featured “Alphabet Aerobics”.
“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,” wrote DJ Shadow in a statement on Twitter. “If there's one thing I know, wherever Gab is, he's SOARING right now.”