13 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Blackalicious frontman Gift of Gab has a bone to pick with upstart MCs who ignore content in favor of empty brags. On The Next Logical Progression, he dishes out razor-keen rhymes with a literate yet street-honed edge all too rare in rap these days. Gab wears his old-school cred as a badge of honor as he surrounds himself with classic soul sounds: the Isaac Hayes–style horn-and-piano interplay of “Toxic” and the shimmering synth waves on “Wack but Good People” show a strong affection for vintage R&B. The presence of funk patriarch George Clinton on “Everything Is Fine” is yet another acknowledgement of his roots. But Gab seems more concerned with the sorry state of 21st-century rap than in celebrating yesterday’s glory. “Protocol” combines an aggressive stance with a sweetly sung chorus (featuring Samantha Kravitz), while “Rise” sinks its teeth into today’s shallow rappers. Combined with these critiques are gritty word-sketches like “Market & 8th” and uplifting messages like “Beyond Logic.” “Every breath is heaven-sent/the past is irrelevant,” Gab asserts in “So So Much” over a summery groove.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Blackalicious frontman Gift of Gab has a bone to pick with upstart MCs who ignore content in favor of empty brags. On The Next Logical Progression, he dishes out razor-keen rhymes with a literate yet street-honed edge all too rare in rap these days. Gab wears his old-school cred as a badge of honor as he surrounds himself with classic soul sounds: the Isaac Hayes–style horn-and-piano interplay of “Toxic” and the shimmering synth waves on “Wack but Good People” show a strong affection for vintage R&B. The presence of funk patriarch George Clinton on “Everything Is Fine” is yet another acknowledgement of his roots. But Gab seems more concerned with the sorry state of 21st-century rap than in celebrating yesterday’s glory. “Protocol” combines an aggressive stance with a sweetly sung chorus (featuring Samantha Kravitz), while “Rise” sinks its teeth into today’s shallow rappers. Combined with these critiques are gritty word-sketches like “Market & 8th” and uplifting messages like “Beyond Logic.” “Every breath is heaven-sent/the past is irrelevant,” Gab asserts in “So So Much” over a summery groove.

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