So here I am, with another extract from my Hip Hop Insight project for you. There’s been Del The Funky Homosapien and DJ QBert so far. This chat is with Blackalicious’ Gift Of Gab. I got to catch up with Gab on one of his visits to Australia. We spoke about doing acid, seeing God, space, ego, aliens, spirituality and all kinds of things… here’s a little taste. FYI, Blackalicious recently dropped a new record too—Imani Vol. 1.
GIFT OF GAB: Anything that I say, I never consider myself as someone who knows because the more I learn the more I know that spirituality is something that you can never fully fathom, it has no beginning or end to it. Once you think you’ve figured it out, the rules change [laughs]. This is my opinion right now, it might change. …it’s about being connected to everything.
I don’t know if I should even talk about this… [laughs] when I talk about this stuff I always have to mention, and I’m not saying this will be the same experience for everyone, I’m not even saying anyone should do this but, I did acid back in the early ‘90s and it really unfolded a lot of things for me. I wouldn’t do it anymore because there’s a lot of negative consequences that can come from it to, like flashbacks; if you start to abuse it, just like anything, it becomes negative and works against you. It can block you from the line of spirit. I definitely had an experience where I listened to the audio of the Tao Te Ching and did acid, that’s when the whole picture really opened up [laughs]. For that moment, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Eckhart Tolle?
BIANCA: Yes, the author of The Power Of Now.
GOG: Good, well, I felt that! For about a week I could see God in everything. I’d never thought of that concept before, it’s really something you feel, I guess. I’d never really felt it before, at that one moment I was like this is the experience of God, discovering what it is through everything. It occurred to me that there is no time, that there is just this one infinite moment and that we’re all events and pieces in this one infinite moment that never started, so it’s impossible for it to end. A lot of shit just started coming to me after that. It was very important. I started to chase it, sometimes I looked for it in the wrong places, alcohol. I believe though it’s something within. When I started to read Buddhist books and eastern philosophy books, I began to… at first I thought, ok all these people just did acid [laughs], they had the same trip I had! I know it’s not like that for everyone but for me the acid was a spiritual experience. It’s what they were talking about but they found it through practice, discipline, devotion, prayer, meditation and right living. For some reason acid gives you a glimpse into it, you can see it for a minute. You might not know what to do with it afterwards though [laughs]. …I get tempted by things still, I am human—I’m no saint! [Laughs].
B: Do you find that being more aware of walking the ‘right path’ that gets talked about in eastern philosophies, when you are tempted by things you pull yourself up?
GOG: Ego and spirit is a constant shift of remembering and forgetting. I might be talking to you about all of this and by the end of this conversations our spiritual vibrations will have rose and spending this time together we are recharged, then we walk outside and someone will honk their car horn at us for whatever and we’ll forget this beauty you and I are experiencing together now talking. To me, the older I get, the more I believe that spirituality is a practice, you have to keep doing it. I found that if I don’t stay connected, I forget and my ego takes over and I do what my ego wants to do. I have to constantly keep checking it with the light of the spirit.
B: How do you feel about the label of being a “conscious rapper” that people often give to you?
GOG: That’s ok but, I’m just telling my truth. My rhymes are a lot of times like my journals, how I see the world and how I’d like to see the world based on my experience. They’re about the stuff that I actually think about on a daily basis. I never sat down and said I want to be a conscious rapper and teach the world. I’m human and I fall short every day. I do strive to live a certain way. I think a lot of my songs are about that journey, trying to get there…
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