Gift of Gab, ‘Escape 2 Mars’ (Cornerstone Ras)
Five years after his solo debut, 4th Dimensional Rocketships Going Up, Gift of Gab returns to space…sort of. The Bay Area MC imagines playing intergalactic hooky, but admits on “Lightyears” that it’s “just a dream, just a surface.” Meanwhile, Earth is plagued with “Electric Waterfalls,” and he despairingly observes “Richman, Poorman” games. So, backed by melancholic, electronic-tinged production from Dnae Beats, Gab fashions inspired stories out of loquacious speed-raps, ruminating over humanity’s foibles. It may not be transporting, but it’s still impressively empathetic.