Hip-Hop Artist ‘Gift Of Gab’ Of Blackalicious Dead At 50: 3 Things To Know About Kidney Disease Among Black Men

Hip-Hop Artist ‘Gift Of Gab’ Of Blackalicious Dead At 50: 3 Things To Know About Kidney Disease Among Black Men

Gift of Gab

Hip-Hop Artist Blackalicious ‘Gift Of Gab’ Dead At 50: 3 Things To Know About Kidney Disease Among Black Men. Photo: magicmine

Talented MC Gift of Gab of the Bay Area hip-hop duo Blackalicious has died. The death of the quick-witted artist known for his immense level of wordplay was announced Friday, June 25. He was 50.

“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 hip-hop collective Quannum said in a statement. “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.”

Born Timothy J. Parker, Gift of Gab founded Blackalicious in 1992 with producer and DJ Chief Xcel. The duo made several notable EPs and albums, one of which was entitled “Nia” that led to them getting signed by Universal Music’s MCA Records.

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Gift of Gab is likely most remembered for the uninterrupted delivery of his iconic verses on “Alphabet Aerobics,” a song in which he used the first letter of every word in each proceeding lyric.

Tributes began pouring in when the news of Gift of Gab’s death was announced. “Our brother was an MC’s MC who dedicated his life to his craft. One of the greatest to ever do it,” Chief Xcel said in a statement. “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 voice was perfect, his wordplay endlessly inventive … In an industry with so many frauds and followers, Tim Parker was more than just original; he was unique,” he wrote. “And he was, quite simply, the most preternaturally gifted MC I’ve ever worked with,” DJ Shadow said in a statement. “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. If there’s one thing I know, wherever Gab is, he’s SOARING right now. We love and miss you, Tim.”

According to Rolling Stone, one of Blackalicious’ reps confirmed Gift of Gab died of natural causes. However, the talented MC did suffer from kidney disease and had to receive dialysis multiple times a week before he received a kidney transplant in Jan. 2020. Here are 3 things to know about kidney disease among Black men.

1. Black men are most at risk for kidney disease and/or failure.

Black men are most at risk for having life threatening complications from kidney disease because they are least likely to have their blood pressure under control, according to a study published in the “American Journal of Kidney Diseases.”

The journal is the official publication of the National Kidney Foundation and included over 10,000 people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and hypertension.

“African-Americans with CKD progress more quickly to kidney failure, at which point they must receive a kidney transplant or regular dialysis to survive,” lead author O. Kenrik Duru, M.D. of the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, said. “These findings suggest that their higher risk of kidney failure may stem, at least in part, from higher rates of uncontrolled high blood pressure.”

The study’s co-author, Allan J. Collins, MD, added he results show controlling high blood pressure may help Black men avoid such complications. “If African-American men are more likely to develop kidney failure because they are more likely to have uncontrolled high blood pressure, treating their high blood pressure more aggressively may also protect their kidneys,” Collins said.

2. Black people with CKD are more progress at a much faster rate than their white counter parts.

According to kidney.org, “research has shown that African-Americans with CKD progress five times more quickly to end-stage renal disease, or kidney failure, than Caucasians.”

Though the disparity is knows, research is ongoing about what the actual reason is for the dissparity. While some studies suggest it is due to Black people having higher rates of other diseases like hypertention and diabetes that lead to kidney disease, this is not the full picture.

3. Social factors like racism are key in causing Black people, and Black men in particular, in having more health disparities, experts state.

“Social determinants of health, race, and racism are equally — if not more — important in explaining the excess risk of kidney disease in African Americans relative to white Americans,” according to J. Kevin Tucker, MD, a nephrologist who contributed a guest article on the subject to Harvard’s website.

Tucker noted that social and economic injustice have greatly contributed to Black Americans having unequal access to healthcare, including preventative treatment. “It will take patients, families, clinicians, and community health advocates working cooperatively to eliminate disparities in rates of kidney disease and its outcomes,” Tucker concluded.