Blackalicious’ own Gift of Gab, a respected respected wordsmith, is dead at the age of 50.

On Friday (June 25), his crew, Oakland hip hop collective Quannum Projects, announced that the rapper passed away on June 18.

“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,” the crew announced. “Tim peacefully departed this earth to be with our ancestors on Friday, June 18, 2021. 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.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone, a rep for Blackalicious confirmed that Gab, who had received a new kidney in January 2020 after suffering from kidney failure, died of natural causes.

A natural lyricist, Gift of Gab was known for precise rhyme schemes and dynamic flows. As part of Blackalicious, a crew he formed with his DJ/producer friend Chief Xcel in 1992, he released four four albums, including The Craft (2005) and Imani Vol. 1 (2015). On the solo end of things, he released three LPs, with his last two being Escape 2 Mars (2009) and The Next Logical Progression (2012).

In a post he uploaded to Gab’s Instagram account, Chief Xcel remembers the way he formed Blackalicious with Gab.

“At the time his rap name was Tiny T. I knew he rhymed because of a mutual friend, Justin aka Homicide,” writes Xcel. “Homicide approached me one day and said, ‘We should form a group. You be the DJ and me and Tiny be the MC’s. Tiny’s Dope.’ I said, ‘Cool’ and we set out to be Sac’s version of Run-DMC. Plans were put to an immediate halt when Homicide dropped out of school. We never heard from him again. About six months passed and out of the blue, Tim who had now changed his rap name to Gabby T, calls me and says , ‘Yo X, I need a DJ.’ So I’m thinking he’s asking me to DJ for him for a talent show or school dance so I say, ‘For when?’ Tim then replies ‘Forever’ and I say ‘Cool.’ That day marked the beginning of our journey. 34 years of brotherhood, deep friendship, artistic inspiration, and musical exploration.”

Read all of what Xcel has to say in the post below.