The sad news just broke that underground rap veteran The Gift of Gab (real name Timothy J. Parker) of Blackalicious died this past Friday (6/18) at age 50, following a seven-year-long battle with kidney failure.

"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," his crew Quannum 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."

His Blackalicious partner Chief Xcel said, "Our brother was an MCs’ MC who dedicated his life to his craft. One of the greatest to ever do it. 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."

His manager Brian Ross adds, "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 and Chief XCel formed Blackalicious in 1992 and released their debut EP Melodica in 1994. They went on to release a second EP in 1999, followed by four full-length albums, most recently 2015's Imani Vol. 1. Gift of Gab also released three solo albums, as well as albums with the Quannum collective and the supergroup The Mighty Underdogs.

DJ Shadow, a member of the Quannum collective, also issued a statement:

Rest in peace, Gab.

Watch some videos and see a few more tributes from fellow musicians below...