Not many artists have had the chance of being a member of one of the most influential hip-hop groups ever, and find success as a solo artist. Q-Tip has been a beneficiary as the front man for A Tribe Called Quest and with his debut solo album Amplified. The later found commercial success, but many fans viewed this album as the solicitation of one’s creative soul. Unfortunately, he did not have the opportunity to redeem himself when the critically acclaimed Kamaal the Abstract was shelved leaving a six year hiatus from any new projects, but some shining moments came out of that time, mainly with reuniting with his former group members and releasing his follow up solo album, the stellar The Renaissance.
With all but one song produced by the artist, Q-Tip manages to come with an eclectic vibe that is hard at times, but subtle at others, which blends the tracks together well, assisted by creative transitions in between songs. Lyrically, Q-Tip has not lost a step with his abstract flow and smooth delivery. Some examples are, the mellow “Getting’ Up,” the jazzy “Shaka,” the neo soulish Rafael Saadiq assisted “We Fight/Love,” and the cool Amada D featured “ManWomanBoogie.” One thing that can definitely be said is that the Abstract takes every opportunity to prove why his type of emceeing is needed, predominately because of the way that he puts words together through his unique style bringing a quality of originality to his music.
The downside of this album, although being musically superior, it still lacks variety, production wise. Probably because it is pretty much exclusively self-produced it comes off that way, but as far as being experimental or just differing in technique or instrumentation, this album is sorely deficient. But nonetheless, The Renaissance is a superb LP that offers a true artistic interpretation of life, all the while solidifying why Q-Tip is still relevant. – RH
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