Don’t Sleep | Gift of Gab – Finding Inspiration Somehow

Don’t sleep on this new posthumous album from Gift of Gab. It was released on September 10th this year, just 3 months after the announcement of his passing. I was pretty shocked to hear that he had died when the news broke. That was really sad, man. I think Gift of Gab is one of the most under-appreciated rappers of all time. The dude was an elite level MC. I’m more familiar with his work as Blackalicious along with Chief Xcel, but I did check out his 2017 EP, which I thought was pretty good. Anyway, I had pretty high expectations for this project, and they were thankfully met.

Since this isn’t a full review of the album, I’ll just talk about some of my favorite tracks. The album opens up with a highlight entitled Slaughta Dem (Godly). I like the production from Nick Andre, and I think the hook from Windstrong is pretty solid. The real selling point of the song is just Gift of Gab’s rapping though. This song is a masterclass in flow. He spazzed out on this track. I love how aggressive his delivery gets too, especially at the end of the first verse. I think it was smart of them to open this album up with such an energetic, explosive track. They killed it. I think it’s dope as hell. The next highlight for me is the remix of The Gentrification Song. I thought the original version of the song was dope, but this remix is fucking amazing. G Koop‘s production is pretty beautiful here. I think it matches the tone of Gab’s content very well.

When they see me old ladies look afraid like they could run
At any moment even though, me, I ain't taking nothing
It's like this place has lost the essence of the place I'm from
Went to the barbershop I used to frequent, place is run
Out of business and everyone I knew is straight just gone
Feel I should take the bong and hit it to escape the somber
Feeling that you feel when those in power take your home
That feeling is exactly why I had to make this song

There’s really nothing that I don’t like about this track. I think it’s dope af. It’s followed by another highlight for me entitled You Gon’ Make It in the End. I really love Nick Andre’s production on this track, and I think the melodic hook is really catchy as well. Gift of Gab of course slaughtered the first verse.

Man it's a trip how time
Vanishes quick, and mind's
Expand and drift, we find
Our path so quickly, I
Know it ain't easy on this planet and they diss
Somehow they're full of pressure that some would abandon ship
And I'm not tryna preach or judge you 'cause I have my issues
I know you are grown, I won't speak to you as a kid
But I can see the self-destructive patterns settin' in
And I wish I could intervene, wondering if I could get through

The second and third verses from Vursatyl & Lateef the Truthspeaker are really great too, especially the latter. Overall, I think this is easily one of the best songs on the album. It’s dope as hell. Track 8 is a highlight called Alchemy. It was released as a single a few weeks before the album dropped, and I was really impressed as soon as I heard it. I think the production from Jamie Way is pretty beautiful, and this is one of the most lyrically emotional songs on the album.

I've taught the world and been to where the
The plains have flown with sips of seltzer
And now through all the highs and all the lows
I'm in the midst of kidney failure
A different plight, a different realm
The if, the whys, the hows, the whens, the wheres
A different test with different kinds of questions
I sit here tied to this machine connected
Then and there inside I just connect it
Realize my gift, it never left me
Grab the pen and pad and bring to life
The truth through words and flows and faith connected

I probably misquoted some of those lines, but I think I got most of them right. Anyway, I think this is another one of the best songs on the album. The production is phenomenal, and Gift of Gab’s performance is fantastic. The song is dope as hell. The last track I wanna talk about is the final song on the album, Back to the Light. As the title kind of hints, it’s another one of the more emotional moments on the album. The production from Murge is honestly fucking gorgeous. The beat sounds really ethereal. The rapping from Gift of Gab is very poetic as well, and the heavenly vocals from Ashleigh Hymann on the hook sound superb.

I try to smudge away my demons
Try to meditate on the greatness that I'm seein'
But gloom creeps and visibility's decreasing
Anxiety's seeping, got me reasoning your treason
Yet deep inside his psyche something speaks to him inspiring
Belief in something higher than the need for the acquiring
Leaking from the sky where the egos find their vibrance
I can see it in the trials of nature when there's violence

There’s really nothing that I don’t like about this track. I think it’s dope as hell.

This album is great. I think some of the hooks are pretty terrible to be honest, but aside from that I didn’t have any consistent gripes with the album. I think this is an even better project than Gift of Gab’s preceding extended play, so it’s great that he went out on such a good note. There’s only one song on this album that I don’t see myself returning to, and I don’t even think it’s bad. I don’t see how any fans of Blackalicious or Gift of Gab’s solo work would be disappointed in this album. It’s a great project.

Favorite Song: The Gentrification Song (Remix)
Least Favorite Song: The World Without Money


Grade: B+


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