Friday, January 15, 2010

Gift Of Gab: London's Independent Newspaper Reviews 'Escape 2 Mars' Album

As reviewed by Andy Gill at London's The Independent

Gift of Gab - Escape 2 Mars (Cornerstone/R.A.S.) released November 3, 2009

"Escape to Mars, it's not too far," advises rapper Gift Of Gab, continuing the theme of 2004's 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up, an ongoing extension of the space-jazz schtick of such as Sun Ra and Parliament which offered a metaphor for the astronomical extent a black man needs to search to find enlightened, non-racist attitudes in the solar system.

A Sun Ra quote even heralds "Dreamin'," on which Del The Funky Homosapien and Brother Ali help Gab pursue his out-of-this-world quest – which turns out to be more out-of-body experience when at the end of his journey, he wakes up to find "it was all in my mind". He's more successful attempting "a little getaway from all the drama/so I can get some space/clean up my mental haze/and clean my karma" – but since the trip is only "In Las Vegas", he just ends up with a swollen liver and a shrunken wallet. He's fine when dealing this light-heartedly with aspirations, but Gab's footing becomes less firm when he tries to be serious: okay, so he avoids paying lip-service to hip-hop's bling culture, but if the alternative is the simplistic oppositional analysis of "Richman, Poorman", what's the point? And as for the readiness to believe conspiracy theories about the supposed suppression of holistic cures for cancer, aids and diabetes in "Electric Waterfalls", that's not so much out-of-body as out-of-mind.

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