The Craft is the third full-length album by hip hop duo Blackalicious, released on ANTI- on September 27, 2005. The group worked with Grammy Award-winning engineer Russell Elevado who previous work includes D’Angelo’s Voodoo, Alicia Key’s Songs In A Minor, Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun. Chief Xcel went on to describe him as Blackalicious’ third member. Xcel explained his thoughts on the album:”The Craft is our passion to bring discipline to this music, the passion to keep growing, keep stretching, keep doing things we haven’t before. The craft is what we live for.”
Initial critical response to The Craft was positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received an average score of 80, based on 22 reviews.
The album was solely produced by Chief Xcel. It contains much more live instrumentation than on previous Blackalicious albums. Prefix Magazine described the production: “Xcel’s production doesn’t stray very far from its R&B and soul influences, but this time it comes without almost any samples, relying sometimes on players from a homebrewed funk band to create clearance-free beats instead.“