Review : Gift of Gab - The Next Logical Progression
Hip Hop DXDon’t take the subject as an indicator of NLP’s tone, however. At times, it’s downright jovial, with “Protocol’s” keys eliciting memories of Motown mixed with a little bit of guitar twang. So while Gab is here to get those brain cells flowing, he’s also aiming to get those feet shuffling. “Everything is Fine” shifts things over to '80s-style funk-electronica. Appropriately, George Clinton joins as Gab assumes the title of “The Monk of Funk.”
“Toxic” misses its mark a little, as Gab’s robotic, over-enunciating flow ends up feeling a bit cliché over rhythmic claps. However, he sounds much more natural on “Wack But Good People,” as the Cali native illustrates, in painfully accurate fashion, the delusions of grandeur some have when trying to break into the Hip Hop game....full text
Paste magazineFor Blackalicious frontman Gift of Gab, his artistry has always lived outside of hip-hop’s fashionable margins, his old-school cadence as nostalgic as the dusty drum breaks he prefers. Over the years, that aesthetic has worked well for the veteran MC: he’s worked with everyone from ?uestlove to Zack de la Rocha, from Ledisi to the iconic Gil Scott-Heron. Through it all, the Gift of Gab has always remained true to himself, no matter how esoteric his blend of preachy rhymes and distinctive baritone. He’s unapologetic, lyrically seasoned, and has no problems reminding you of such. And just like some of his peers, he has a big problem with the current state of hip-hop and its dearth of talent. Much of the genre is drowning in glossy pop glaze, and raw lyricism with a purpose is few and fair between. “It doesn’t take a bit of talent to do what they do, the game is fully tainted,” Gab rhymes on his new album, Next Logical Progression. “It would be hate if I critique, and talk about all the wackness that is blatant I can see.”...full text
Tiny mixtapesAt his age and at this stage in his career, you’d think that rapper Gift of Gab wouldn’t be struggling so much with his identity, but his newest solo album, The Next Logical Progression, is evidence of a serious identity crisis. Is he the old-school conscious rapper of his first solo album 4th Dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up; a tough, wizened rap elder with no patience for the game; or a wannabe new-age luminary torn between the street and the yoga studio? Really, he’s all of these at once, and these conflicting personalities don’t mix well. He’s still got the talent and the jams — “Effed Up” is a pretty glorious romp through his old, self-deprecating swagger — but much of the material seems seriously out of touch, maybe even a bit flaky.
On the song “Rise,” Gab’s guest vocalist raps, “Can I study Rumi and still quote Too $hort?” The answer is no, you can’t. Maybe rappers with harder edges and hungrier bellies could pull off an interesting juxtaposition like this, but not on this album. It reminds me of Guy Ritchie’s utterly ridiculous 2005 film Revolver, in which he tries to blend his signature British gangster style with the new age musings of Deepak Chopra....full text
The Owl magGift of Gab is a diligent, professorial poet with staggering breath control. He is also a predictable, emotionally detached dramatist. Next Logical Progression, Gab’s third solo release, though often awe-inspiring, is not going to stop fans from pestering him with the question “where’s Chief Xcel?”
What keeps us coming back is, of course, supreme lyricism. Gab rhymes multiple syllables in rapid succession (“NLP,” “Protocol”), weaves sentences full of words with common vowel sounds (“Everything is Fine”), and much more without ever projecting a need to come up for air. But there tends to be more passion and cleverness behind the bragging than the storytelling. “Wack But Good People” is an amusing two-person conversation that relies heavily on vocal manipulation techniques 2Pac ran into the ground in 1993. Gab’s delivery on “Market & 8th” comes across as if he’s narrating modern day decay from the point of view of a nose-in-the-air passerby. Only on an ode to exhaustingly awful relationships (“Toxic”) does Gift of Gab effectively fuse skill, insight, and expressiveness....full text
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