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The Renaissance

Q-Tip

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Album Review

When the best rapper/producer in hip-hop history spends almost a decade without a record on the shelves (despite his best efforts), it has to be considered a crime — if not a tragedy. Difficult to tell, though, is why Q-Tip was bounced to five different labels within six years. He never pronounced himself angry about the situation, saying only that he continued to work, reportedly recording three full albums that were never released. (At least one of those, 2003's Kamaal the Abstract, was a reality, since it was only denied a release after promos were sent out.) His long-awaited return on The Renaissance is no disappointment, offering more of the same understated, aqueous grooves and fluid rapping that the Abstract Poetic has built his peerless career on. Although it has a few more message songs than his dance-heavy debut from 1999 (Amplified), many of these tracks are club grooves painted with the same production touches as ten years earlier; his work is still excellent 20 years after his career began, but he seems less interested in spinning four minutes of fluent rap for each track. (Granted, he's carrying this show alone, with no Phife Dawg to take every other verse.) Some of the songs are built with a live group (including guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel), although they usually sound programmed. One thing is for sure: Q-Tip is still a master of pacing and atmosphere, structuring the first half of the record so smoothly that listeners may not notice a transition until the sixth track, "We Fight/We Love," which contrasts the perspective of a man in the middle of war with a woman left alone. The closer, "Shaka," got the most attention leading up to release, since an early version sampled Barack Obama (perhaps coincidentally, The Renaissance was originally scheduled to be released on Election Day). Sounding like a latter-day Midnight Marauders and The Love Movement, and very similar to the unreleased Kamaal the Abstract, The Renaissance is a worthy comeback for the man who's arguably done more to make hip-hop enjoyable than any other figure.

Customer Reviews

21世紀初のQ-TIP

きたっ! 21世紀初のQ-TIP(実質)。 MPC2000xlを高々と掲げたジャケは、 (相方不在が悲しくも)ほぼ一人で作り上げたトラックに対する自信の現れか。 ダークなネタ感をごっちゃまぜにして、よく練り込んで、過不足ないバランスで構築すると、何故か甘酸っぱいPOPsになるという、あのトラック世界はさらに磨き上げられたもよう。つまり音数極少。 ラップはいわずもがなスウィート。 繰り返し聴いてさらに「味が増す」クラシック作だとみた。

久々に素晴らしいヒップホップ

ヒップホップでここまでよいと思ったのは久しぶりかも。 ピアノトリオネタを簡単にサンプリングしたものやJ-POPをパクったかのようにサンプリングしたようなまがい物が ヒップホップとして扱われているけど、あんなんには何のクリエイティヴィティも感じられません。 ルネッサンスというタイトルも大げさではなく、長いこと聴ける傑作。 個人的にはQ-TIPのナヨ声が苦手なんで星四つ。 こういうのがちゃんと売れないなら今のシーンは終わってます。 言い方を変えればヒップホップは今でもアンダーグラウンドのままでいい形が残っています。。

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Biography

Born: April 10, 1970 in New York, NY [Harlem]

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The longtime MC with pioneering alternative hip-hop trio A Tribe Called Quest, rapper Q-Tip was born Jonathan Davis in New York City on November 20, 1970. While a student at the Murray Bergtraum High School for Business Careers, he co-founded A Tribe Called Quest with fellow students Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Phife (Malik Taylor) in 1988. The following year, Q-Tip guested on De La Soul's "Buddy," with the two groups forever linked through their association with the Native Tongues collective. Tribe's...
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The Renaissance, Q-Tip
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