Smooth as glass Hip Hop from Q-Tip
I was a bit late in becoming a fan of Q-Tip. The first thing I ever owned by him was his 1999 solo release “Amplified.” That is a fantastic album with some great music on it. After I heard that, I went back and collected a lot of A Tribe Called Quest. Q-Tip is my favorite Quester, by far, perhaps because of his appearance on the Dave Chappelle Show (I believe Q-Tip actually appears on screen on this episode, but I think this YouTube video is truncated).
He recorded a follow-up solo album in 2002 called “Kamaal/The Abstract,” but he didn’t release it because – get this – he was afraid it wouldn’t have commercial appeal. Interestingly, that album was finally released last month. Perhaps they reworked or further produced the songs. I don’t know because I haven’t heard the new release nor have I read anything about his decision to release it now.
In 2008, Q-Tip released another solo album, “The Renaissance.” I guess that makes this is the third he recorded and the second he released. Weird. In any event, it is stocked with good music. It’s not wall-to-wall winners, but there are some great songs. Check out these:
- Johnny is Dead – A heavy keyboard riff opens the album and gives way to a great harmony chorus. Good opener for this album.
- Gettin’ Up – This time the keys are electric piano but as always, we get Q-Tip’s great flow. He has a kind of funny sounding alto voice. I think of it as the other end of the male rapper spectrum from Chali 2NA.
- You – Q-Tip can write a love song. This is another one that is touching without getting corny.
- Move – This has a bit of horns and some odd backing vocals mixed in but almost the whole song is Q-Tip rapping in high gear.
- Shaka – This is a great groove. It opens with pounding guitar but that quickly fades for some oozy keyboards laying down a weird progression. This is my favorite track on this disc.
- Believe – D’Angelo helps out on this track and he does a great job, giving the choruses of this song a really relaxed feel and adding good fills to the verses.
- Life Is Better – I was listening to this for a minute trying to figure out which R&B singer he got to join him in the studio. Actually, it’s Norah Jones, giving a great Pop vocal performance. I really like her voice and I like hearing her doing something this energetic.
Raphael Saadiq guests on ‘We Fight/We Love,’ which gets an honorable mention. It’s on my iPod at the moment, but I’m not sure if it’s staying.
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