Gift of Gab: The Next Logical Progression

Gift of Gab, The Next Logical Progression, blackaliciousGift of Gab: The Next Logical Progression
Last week, veteran California emcee Gift of Gab made news when he announced he had suffered kidney failure and was in need of a transplant. Although he has found a donor, a major health scare will give anyone a new perspective. Some of that perspective is shown on his new solo album, The Next Logical Progression.
The tone is set early on in the album. On the spoken word “Introlude,” Gift of Gab states “it has been a long road/I have traveled a lot of places/met a lot of people/seen a lot of things/and the beauty of it is, I don’t feel like its halfway done/so much more to come.” This type of perspective, of seeing life as a whole, is the thoughts of a man who has dealt with his own mortality.
But the threads of life and death are not that in your face on the album, some examples are more imbedded. Take “So So Much” for example. On the track, Gift raps “it was all a dream/I used read Right On before Word Up,” an obvious interpolation of Notorious B.I.G.‘s iconic “Juicy” lyrics. The mere almost-quote floods the listener with feelings of Biggie’s life and death, reminding us that the greatest rappers seem to meet untimely demises. The track’s chorus just further infuses this notion as Gab raps, “you got so so much/you got so much to live for.”
When not dealing with his own mortality or celebrating life, Gift of Gab finds time to use his patented narrative skills. Anyone familiar with his work on Blackalicious‘ “Deception” knows that Gab is a sucker for storytelling and he does not shake the knack on The Next Logical Progression. We get the story of upcoming rappers who get ahead of themselves, promoting and talking game before they have the skills to back it up on “Wack But Good People.” On “Effed Up,” we get the timeless tale of a guy who gets played by a girl. The twist on the story is that then the two see eachother again except the girl is “doing bad” and the “effed up” part is that the guy engages in some schadenfreude. These tales are quaint but they feel a little cheesy.
Cheese withstanding, The Next Logical Progression is a fairly strong solo outing for Gift of Gab. For Blackalicious fans that are clamoring for a new album, Gift delivers an album that should hold them over. There is a good dose of the funky production that Gift thrives on and the album’s uplifting “celebrate life” message plays perfectly into his skill set. The Next Logical Progression is a feel good album perfect for spring listening.
Rating: 7.3/10
MP3: Gift of Gab “So So Much”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!