Gift of Gab's debut solo disc, 4th Dimensional Rocket Ships Going Up, is impressive. Gab, who is best known as one half of the Bay Area-based rap group Blackalicious, doesn't stray far from his crew's oeuvre on the new record, however, which begs the question: What's the point of a solo joint? The query becomes moot upon listening to Gab's underrated lyrical skills on tracks like "Flashback," where he reminisces about growing up in the '80s when hip-hop infiltrated every aspect of life. Longtime Blackalicious fans might miss Chief Xcel's production, but the soulful sounds produced by Seattle beat junkies Vitamin D and Jake One mesh well with Gab's flow. The combination is seamless on cuts like "In a Minute Doe," Gab's heartfelt tribute to his incarcerated nephew, and the Far East-tinged "Way of the Light," which provides the spiritual nourishment we've come to expect from Gab. The MC's polysyllabic rhymes and sung choruses merge like a collision between Gil Scott-Heron and E-40. So until Blackalicious launches its next mothership, fans won't mind being caught in Gab's orbit.
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