While at Zanzibar in Santa Monica for Afro Funke’ last night I overheard a partygoer compliment the host of the evening for his mic swag: “He’s got the gift of gab!” What a genius way to describe someone's oratory skills. Coincidently enough, just a few hours earlier, Blackalicious rapper and Quannum Projects member Gift of Gab performed on The Amoeba Hollywood stage. Blackalicious, a duo comprised of Gab and DJ/Producer Cheif Xcel, found a nice comfy position in the heart of underground hip-hop and has remained there since its inception in 1992. Quannum Projects is a hip-hop collective/ independent record label out of the San Francisco Bay Area comprised of DJs and Mcs. Ever heard of DJ Shadow or Lyrics Born? They’re some of the more notable members of the small unified group. Gift of Gab, although very much still a part of the duo, has been doing solo projects and collaborations with other hip-hop heavies like Lateef The Truth Speaker and Grouch and Eligh since 2004. Last night's zealous show was mind-blowing yet short lived, and nonetheless enjoyable.
Gift of Gab opened up his set with “A-G,” a Blackalicious classic. DNA Beats shared the stage, serving as his DJ. An eclectic mix of enthusiastic die-hard fans—young and old—Amoeba shoppers and employees gathered in between aisles to enjoy the spectacle. The show didn’t last any more than half an hour, but still I left with that adequate feeling of utter satisfaction. No gimmicky stage show with flashing lights galore and all things glitter necessary; this brilliant MC commands the stage with just his voice, as do most of the acts who are privileged enough to grace the Amoeba stage. Then again, isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? His rapid-fire delivery is really what’s most impressive. He’s Speedy Gonzales on the mic. Gab spits out more lyrics in one 8-bar than the sun produces solar power energy per hour. Not just any old meaningless bundle of words, Allmusic best describes his prolific style as “jam-packed with internal rhymes, allusions, metaphors, ten-cent words, and amazing tongue-twisting feats of skill.” Couldn’t have put it any better had my life depended on it.
Gift of Gab has patiently waited 5 years to drop his second full-length solo album. Along with bringing the heat, Gab is sticking to his roots and laying down the groundwork for undeniable relevance. "People are gonna think this is about Martians, but it's not," Gab explains. "It's more so about taking care of the planet we're on. We might have to escape to Mars or somewhere else if we keep taking the planet we live on for granted. I'm not trying to preach to anyone," he persists. "I just think it's important for us to raise the level of consciousness and consideration of these things." If only we could get the Lady Gagas of the world to take note.
Cornerstone Recording Arts Society, —the same label that put out Rootbeer's debut album Pink Limousine— released Escape 2 Mars November 3, 2009 on CD, vinyl and worldwide digital download. Already I’ve been bumping the first single from the album, "El Gifto Magnifico," which was released a few months back. Gab performed a dope track from the album last night he said was produced by turntablist, former member of both funk group Ozomatli and of legendary hip-hop group Jurassic 5, the one and only Cut Chemist. Speaking of Jurassic 5, I recently had the pleasure of opening up Soup and Marc 7 who've brilliantly formed a new group called Portable Payback, definitely worth checking out. Love to share, back to Gab. Featured on another track, “Dreamin’” are iconic MCs Del The Funky Homosapien and Brother Ali. Quite the heated line up. Will definitely have the CD plugged into heavy rotation for the next couple of weeks. For more pics from the instore, go here. 'Till next time...chew the corners off!