The final work of the late rapper ends on a high note
Death is inevitable. Yet, there is something very calming knowing that the person was doing what they loved during their final days. Sacramento native, Gift of Gab, passed away this past June due to natural causes after having suffered from kidney failure previously. The rapper was a member of the duo Blackalicious as well as a member of the Quannum. Between his memberships as well as his solo works, he was regarded as one of the greatest wordsmiths in rap history. Before leaving, he left people with Finding Inspiration Somehow, which is brought as a collection of lessons, observations and positivity that despite dark days, there is light at the tunnel.
Following the intro is “Slaughtah Dem (Godly);” the production is a roaring reggae vibe with a brass instrument keeping a steady bassline that Gab bounces around. “Going Farther” is a complete switch up with a more light-hearted, boom bap production. Gab’s rhyme scheme is untouched in this track, not missing a single beat and feels like one big breath. The energy shifts with “The Gentrification Song (Remix).” It’s much gloomier as Gab speaks on the change in his neighborhood due to the mass inclusion of wealthier residents and businesses making it become more expensive for the previous community to live in. “This was a place I used to call home…the city ain’t the same” and “they say it’s all to improve, but tell me what communities s’pose to move,” detail the extent to which he’s witnessed the erasure of the community he once knew.
It becomes motivational with “You Gon’ Make It In The End.” “Push through, live up, live long, rise up, be more, be strong, go hard” are just a few phrases Gab gives to listeners. He lets people know that he is different and people probably don’t share the same experiences, but he’s here to give up guidance and encouragement. “Vice Grip” comes as a single on the album with a fiery production courtesy of Nick Andre. Gab’s flow is gritty and tough, and his rhyme schemes switch back and forth in an effortless fashion. A space-funky ‘70s-sounding production gives listeners “The World Without Money.” He acknowledges the dynamic between money and power while also making you want to move and dance along.
“A Weekend In Venice” is a little more soulful bringing this R&B energy to the album. The balance between the vocals and the high-pitched synth is soothing and allows you to just bask in the intricate production. “The Idea Of America” is another collection of Gab’s thoughts on the history of America. It feels like a well-thought-out rant that reiterates many people’s viewpoints on the world as well. Ending the album is “Back To The Light.” The production alone feels hopeful with the bells and the violin becoming the star of the sonics. He urges people to find their soul.
The passing of Gift of Gab is an unfortunate one. However, Finding Inspiration Somehow feels reassuring. It was Gab’s final gift before leaving, almost as if he knew it was necessary for these words to be heard. It’s hopeful, educational, positive and motivating all in one. This project was his parting with the hope that those listening just might find inspiration as he did as well.