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An EP meant to hold fans' attention between the exceptional Melodica and its full-length follow-up, NIA, A2G definitely didn't find the duo in a holding pattern. In fact, the album contains some mind-blowing moments, especially the highly original, Cut Chemist-produced album-closer, "Alphabet Aerobics," a riveting overhaul and reinvention of "A to G" that went on to become an impressive concert staple and showcase for the constantly brilliant Gift of Gab, one of the very finest MCs to ever pick up a microphone. While Chemist's track alone -- building from a spare mid-tempo thump into a blazing electronic maelstrom by progressively piling on the samples and ratcheting up the bpms -- is as innovative as hip-hop gets, he is trumped by Gift of Gab, who goes through the alphabet letter by letter, two lines apiece. By the time he hits x, y, and z, he is spitting out lyrics with astonishing verbal virtuosity. But he barely outshines Chief Xcel, who, par for course with the entire Quannum Projects crew, loads the music with clever samples and newfangled beats (especially on the funk-laced "Clockwork") to keep things ever-inventive.

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