Renaissance: Q-Tip / The Review

November 20, 2008

Remember when you had a tape (yeah, I said tape on purpose) or an album that you really liked and wondered why the club/radio never seemed to play all your “favorites” from it?  Or, how there were certain rap songs you thought you weren’t going to like because of the intro music but when the MC started spitting, you ended up loving the song?  If you don’t have any fond musical memories of hip hop like these, you’re probably not considered by “most” to be a real fan of the art from back-in-the-day.  But, there’s no need to fear, Q-Tip is here!  

Enter The Renaissance.   Many rappers from back-in-the-day  that try to stage a musical  comeback suffer from what I refer to as the Schwarzenegger Effect.  In almost every movie he’s been in, there has to be some sort of explanation about his accent and/or build.  That’s because he’s not a great actor. He was extremely popular though.  Film makers felt that in order for audiences to “accept” him in a role, they needed to explain his thick accent and freakish size/build.  Many rappers from back-in-the-day didn’t ever really have the best lyrical ability compared to the lyrical geniuses we’ve come to love…they were, however, very popular. The Renaissance proves that Q-Tip doesn’t suffer from S.E. at all! 
From Johnny Is Dead to the bonus track Good Thang you’ll be constantly reminded that Q-Tip can rap…for real.  This album is an overall winner.  It’s not a throw-back album (i.e. it doesn’t sound dated or from the 90’s).  It’s a refreshinglook at what new hip hop can still sound like.  The music/production of this project is solid.  The beats aren’t the feature or the star of this project but are there to accompany the rhymes.  I give The Renaissance 6 out of 7 Head Nods*!  And now for the specifics…

Johnny Is Dead [track 1] ~ This is the 1st track on the project.  And, like a good intro should, it’s gives you some idea how Q-Tip can ride a track with his distinctive style.  And, if you listen to the words, he’s actually saying something.  “Sometimes I phase out when I look at the screen /  when I think about my chance for me to intervene and it’s up to me to bring back the hope put feeling in the music that you can quote / not saying that I hate it cause yeah, I kinda dig it, but what good is a ear, if a Q-Tip isn’t in it?” ~ Q-Tip

Won’t Trade [track 2] ~ On this one, Q-Tip uses sports talk to explain what can and does go on in a relationship.  Word play, nuance, metaphor, double entendre, etc., etc., etc..  This one has what I like to call “the rewind factor”.  Once you catch what he’s talking about, you’ll listen over and over to make sure you’re not missing anything.

 You [track 5]~ This one is more of a “slow jam”.  Not going to spoil it for you but listen to the words…it’s deep.

We Fight/We Love_Feat. Raphael Saadiq [track 6] ~ All I’m going to say on this one is…”Classic.”

ManWomanBoogie_Feat. Amanda Diva [track 7] ~ This is a poem put to a swing.  Once again, gotta listen to the words on this one to really get the vibe.

Move [track 8]~ Yeah, like I said…Q-Tip can rap.  Love the “flow” better than the song though.

Dance On Glass [track 9] ~ The 1st 16 bars are A cappella…a real live “naked 16″…Keep hooking!

Life Is Better_Feat. Norah Jones [track 10]~ Okay, this one reminded me of the part of Kool Moe Dee’s Wild, Wild West that goesI’m talking about Nazareth, B.O., Tony and Milton, Mike Mike Sluggo and Mike Chillion, D.O.B., Reggie B, and Sidney, Dana B, Derrick B, Sean B, and don’t forget, Big Hank, Don Ice and Sire Rock, God bless Peter Wax, Chuck Chuck, and Po Rock, El Dorado George…” …which is a good thing.

Believe_Feat. D’Angelo [track 11] ~ It’s like a hip hop “I believe I Can Fly” [The feel and the message of the song, not the sound.]

I’m Thed Weller and I approve this review.
*Head Nod Scale
1=Don’t waste your time like I did mine.
2=Waste your time like I did mine but I dare you to disagree.
3=Well, there was the single.
4=If it were a hand in spades there’s “two and a possible”.
5=It’s a “good” album.  Meaning at least 3 or 4 solid songs.
6=Really Good Project.  Has the “Rewind Factor” more than once.
7=The number of completion.  Great Album.  Instant Classic.

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