Welcome to The Next Logical Progression, due 3/27, on Quannum Projects. When we first heard the venerated Oakland emcee s voice with Blackalicious, it was a revelation- the opening salvo to nearly two decades of positive emanations, vivid storytelling, elastic rhymes and consistency through reinvention. Across three Blackalicious LPs two praised solo records and 2008 s star-studded collaboration the Mighty Underdogs, not to mention the groundbreaking work of his label Quannum Projects, Gab has been a constant source of innovation and inspiration, giving us as much to mull over as bob our heads to. But lovely as it is, the past is written. The title of Next Logical Progression is no hollow boast: over the lushest beats of his career, Gab blazes a path into the history of hip-hop to come. For the first time, Gab had a hand in crafting the music that scores his rap. Instead of going to a traditional beat-maker, he linked up with musician/producer G Koop, a man adept at turning samples into original sounds played fresh on live instruments. But Gab took a different route. I would take a recorder around and hum bass lines, piano figures and guitar riffs into it, then I would go over to Koop s crib and say, Play this . I ve always heard music in my head, but I never knew how to get it out. I finally got to express that.