Writing is not a new thing for me. I’ve been sitting for hours with paper and pen since I knew how to spell—slaving over corny stories that pleased the mind of an elementary school kid and, later, over stories that would go to be published both on their own and in my high school’s paper. As you can see, I truly do love writing it, even continuing it on my own free time here at UCF with Her Campus, but it seemed that no matter how much I wrote, no matter how much I studied to extend my vocabulary, I would eventually find myself facing the same problem again and again—writer’s block.
A true horror for anyone who has been unlucky enough to deal with it, writer’s block is a feeling of sudden tip-of-the-tongue words but an emptiness of the mind and dread in the pit of your stomach that was developed entirely by Satan. For years, writers have suggested one fix after another for this problem, but most of these “effective” solutions involve putting down the pen, closing the laptop, and walking away from the project until your tongue unties. Thankfully, a saving grace in the name of Blackalicious has come to the rescue for all of us writers who are tired of this struggle.
Blackalicious, for those who are unfamiliar, is a duo made up of rapper Gift of Gab and DJ/producer Chief Xcel, that has been proving since the early 1990s that their tongue-twisting lyrics could beat the best with songs like “4000 Miles,” “Lyric Fathom,” and “Alphabet Aerobics.” Since 1994, they have published six albums that can be used to unlock that final line that you’ve been choking on for the past hour.
While people usually avoid suggesting listening to music with lyrics while attempting to write due to the fact that it can be distracting, Blackalicious’ lyrics are artfully arranged in a way that can be used pry apart those mental ties that can be so frustrating.
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In the album “A2G,” the song “Alphabet Aerobics” has Blackalicious going through every letter of the alphabet in order, kicking every dictionary and thesaurus out of a job with lines like the following:
“Operation, opposition, off not optional/ Out of sight, out of mind, wide beaming opticals/ Perfected poem, powerful punch lines/ Pummeling petty powder puffs in my prime/ Quite quaint quotes keep quiet it’s Quantum/ Quarrelers ain’t got a quarter of what we got uh/ Really raw raps, rising up rapidly/ Riding the rushing radioactivity/ Super scientifical sound search sought/ Silencing super fire saps that are soft/ Tales ten times talented, too tough/ Take that, challengers, get a tune up.”
In “Lyric Fathom” from their album “Melodica,” Gift of Gab is well within his right to kill of some humility and take pride in his work with lyrics like:
“I gotcha grandma doin’ back flips and tumbles/ I rumble through the jungle with Ollie and Frasier/ Call me the savior of hip hip I rip shop and get my propers/ Come get with this ak, my style is akwards/ I never mock words, I talk towards the inner city youth.”
In one of their more recent albums, “Imani Vol. 1,” which is supposed to be the first of three volumes to be released in the next two years according to Gift of Gab, Blackalicious proves themselves consistent in their incredible lyrical abilities with the song “Alpha and Omega.”
“Sentimental energy the rhythm is a little freedom/ for the city in the streets/ I felt a little bit of heat/ I’m ready/ Ridicule the weak ain’t ever really getting’ jeep/ I’m clever with the silly people/ I am forever gonna reak/ Have exam it this is elementary/ For an elevated, celebrated, decorated G on these beats.”
If lyrics like these can’t bring a new word to the tip of your tongue when then old one is lost, then writer’s block may not be the only problem. For all of you writers out there—from hardcore writers who do it all the time, to those who do it when best convenient for them—just remember that Blackalicious is there to bring to bring lyrical mayhem into your mind, so let the artists work their magic while you sit back and enjoy.