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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hip-Hop is NOT dead!!!, 9 Nov. 2008
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This review is from: The Renaissance (Audio CD)
Now I haven't written a review on here in a long time but I really felt like people need to know how good this album really is. Two shelved albums & almost a decade after the release of "Amplified", Q-Tip is back with "The Renaissance". Amplified was an unusual album. Pure Hip-Hop songs such as "Let's Ride" were mixed in with more commercial sounding tunes such as "Breathe & Stop", which were clearly aimed at attracting a broader audience. The results were mixed. Whilst his first solo LP boasts some excellent individual tracks, the album itself feels forced & does not work. This is not a problem, however, on Tip's latest effort. Here you really get the sense that he was free to pursue whatever musical direction he wanted & the result is one of the finest Hip-Hop albums in years.

The album is almost entirely produced by Q-Tip himself. The exceptions are "Won't Trade", which is produced by Mark Ronson, & "Move", produced by the late, great J Dilla (Dilla also produced the UK bonus track "Feva"). It is worth noting that 4 of the 13 tracks - "Johnny Is Dead", "Official", "I Believe" & "Feva" - are re-workings from one of Tip's earlier shelved albums. All four tracks can be heard in there original form on his "Abstract Innovations" mixtape.

The Renaissance has an old school Hip-Hop, dare I say Tribe-esque feel to it. Best songs on the album are the first single "Gettin' Up", "Won't Trade", "Official" & the excellent "Move". But honestly the whole album is good - there are no weak tracks.

Overall, The Renaissance is a true Hip-Hop album for Hip-Hop fans. It highlights just how talented Q-Tip is, not only as an MC but also as a producer. Unfortunately it also serves as a reminder as to just how disappointing it is that this is only his second album (which was released) in almost 10 years. Support Q-Tip, support Hip-Hop & buy "The Renaissance" - you won't be disappointed! Let's hope there is a new Tribe album to come...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all about his attitude..., 22 May 2009
This review is from: The Renaissance (Audio CD)
Q-Tip is a really cool guy. While most hip-hop at the moment seems to be about waving your success in people's faces and the animosity between the various cliched thugs on MTV, still talking about their guns and money like we're perpetually trapped in the 1990s, Q-Tip delivers something truly special.

Hip-Hop is not DEAD, as Nas suggested with his rather mediocre album in the last few years, but alive and well and just as exciting as it always has been. Q-Tip is not bitter, tired, out of ideas or under any pressure to conform to the mainstream view of 'what hip-hop is' and his attitude is what does it.

Mainstream artists today are trying DESPERATELY to 'be hip-hop' and Q-Tip does it effortlessly, unconciously and excellently. He doesn't wear the uniform, promote violence or sexism and he's ahead of the curve by miles. What does that tell you?

Hip-Hop was never dead...just cliched gangster rap. Big wup.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, 9 Jan. 2009
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O. Abimbola "Fitnik" (St Albans, Herts) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Renaissance (Audio CD)
The Abstract Poet is back for sure! My brother got me this for xmas and I have almost worn the CD out. Excellent, old school hip hop, heavily reminiscent of a Tribe called Quest in the early 90s. Q-tip is a master lyricist/MC/producer without a doubt and this, in my opinion, is his best solo effort. Each track glides effortlessly into the next - my faves are "We fight/we love", "Johnny is dead", "Believe" and "Dance on glass", the latter of which opens with about 60 seconds of 'Tip rapping without any beat or music to speak of then the beat breaks in suddenly and unexpectedly with classic "Tribesque" jazzy sampling/undertones - outstanding! Buy it, buy it, buy it - you will not regret it :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 2008 was a bad year... until now!, 13 Nov. 2008
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J. Rhodes - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Renaissance (Audio CD)
He's only gone and done it! This album is not just worth the wait, its worthy of all the praise that is getting lavished on it from reviewers all over the globe. This is a real masterclass that demonstrates to all the would-be rappers out there that even though the world and its dog are bored stiff of the gerne, with artists that don't just cater to the marketing exec's by knocking out music by numbers (you all know who I'm talking about) great hip-hop albums can still be produced.

What we have here is a mature yet fresh hip-hop/nu-soul fusion that works on so many levels its frightening! Some of the tracks are so tasty its hard to describe.

From 'Getting Up' and 'Official' to 'You' and 'Life Is Better' the residing unescapable word that comes to mind is "Class"! In a funny sort of way this is more of a follow-up to Foreign Exchange's seminal 'Connected' than even their 2008 release 'Leave It All Behind'... praise indeed!

I'm positive this album will last ages... but lets just hope we won't have to wait so long for the next installment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The formula is simple... Good music - first + last., 9 July 2010
This review is from: The Renaissance (Audio CD)
Nowadays it seems that every new rapper is touted as 'the one' to save hip hop, and take it back to it's golden years. Well, I doubt that will ever happen and one can argue whether the genre (at it's core, a product of urban angst) wants or needs saving at all. That is a debate that should take place elsewhere and I won't rest it upon the shoulders of this 2008 offering by the former A Tribe Called Quest frontman. Of course any release from said artist is likely to spark a debate about the overall state of hip hop music, simply because of that group's place in the pantheon of the genre. They were titans in their time. And that was a time (roughly 1985-1995) of general excellence, and artistic growth in hip hop coupled with some commercial breakthroughs that were arguably unintended but very welcome (Wu-Tang anyone?).

Tribe's (and in-turn Tip's) accomplishments will always precede him regardless of what direction he chooses to head in. Hence why so many were surprised to find him indulging in the fashionable trends of the day on his debut album Amplified (1999). That gold-selling album, while massively enjoyable and well-produced (who can deny songs like "Higher", "Let's Ride" and "Vivrant Thing"?), lacked the feel of a true Tribe album. Even Tribe man Phife spoke words to that effect on his Ventilation LP, which itself did not display much of that Tribe quirkiness or audaciousness, but at the very least remained straightforward and grounded.

Tip re-christened himself as Kamaal (his actual birth name), grew a Marvin Gaye-circa 1976 beard, and indirectly renounced that flashy persona he'd flirted with. He threw away his MPC and picked up the guitar and drums and made a follow up album (really more of a reboot) called Kamaal the Abstract which owed much more to Prince and Shuggie Otis than it did to Tribe. That album featured a curious and exciting fusion of hip hop, rock and jazz. It also had some great moments, and some even better moments such as "Barely in Love", "Heels", and "Even if it is so". But all that experimenting and not-enough-rapping must have have overwhelmed (or confused?) Arista records who promptly shelved the record after the promo for "Barely in Love", branding it unsellable to the average hip hop listener (which is perhaps telling of how the major labels view hip hop fans in general).

Q-Tip spent the intervening 6 years recording The Renaissance and the results are outstanding. He raps here, and lets face it - that's how we prefer to hear him. Why? Because he can still do it better than most, and that includes whomever the current savior of the art-form is supposed to be (I'm looking at you Drake). The Renaissance features everything we love about Q-Tip - the wit, the one-of-a-kind voice, the unique cadences, the staccato delivery, the confidence and the command of vocabulary. Original ideas are here in their droves and on full display on tracks like "Manwomanboogie" featuring music by members of the experimental German rock group Can, a deliciously choppy bassline by Rosko Gee of Traffic and a complimentary mid-section by all-round b-girl Amanda Diva. It may sound chaotic on paper, but boy does it work. The album's first single "Gettin' Up" may be the sweetest and most sincere hip hop love song since Common's "The Light". Over a lush sampling of Black Ivory's "You And I", Kamaal reveals his innermost thoughts as follows:

I like to watch everybody gravitate towards you
Your magnetic presences make them come through
The same way you got them you got me too
Now look at our lives so colorful
A wonderful spectrum, not one tone dull
Full of excitement and not one lull

"Move" features a J Dilla re-working of the Jackson Five floor shaker "Dancing Machine" which is guaranteed to make one move if not jolt altogether. My only complaint is the re-placing of the D'Angelo-featured "I Believe". This song was originally leaked on the internet sometime in 2007 and the version on the album is an alternate version, which while not a letdown, doesn't quite funk-out like the original did in all it's synthy-goodness. Minor gripe aside, this is a great album with much replay value. At an efficient 12 tracks, it contains no filler, no transparent collaborations, and no overtures to any current hip hop fads. That's not to say it's stuck in the past either. It simply doesn't try too hard to fit in. And that's always a good thing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wait Up, 26 May 2009
This review is from: The Renaissance (Audio CD)
It's very rare for me to write about anybody, but this album has touched me. I thought that I'd pop him in while I wrote this too so i hope you're feeling the vibe!! I bought this album on the strength of Getting Up and I am sooooo happy I did. I grew up with a tribe called quest, leaders of the new school, KrS1 and the list goes on and these people to me are true Hip Hop, all the other stuff on MTV is garbage and main stream. I love Q Tip, like his style, voice and just found that this album made me go back to the early nineties when we had just left school and had the world at our feet!!
Tracks I love Official, You, Manwomanboogie (I shame myself on the train!), We Fight and Dance On Glass. Heck I like them all, but these are the ones that go around and around on the pod....anyway i'm off to put on my big gold Salt n Pepper ear rings, dig out my Travel Fox trainers and put on my mini skirt wiv me leggings and top it off wiv me shell suit top......BUY IT, YOU WON'T REGRET IT!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Doing his own thing, 11 Nov. 2009
By 
S. C. JONES "Jonesy" (Leicestershire, U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Renaissance (Audio CD)
The musical artists I like the best - for example, Massive Attack, Super Furry Animals, QoTSA - do their own thing without paying attention to trends. I would certainly add the magnificent Q-Tip to that list.

'Amplified' was a great album. Yes, some of the it was extremely (some might say overly) commercial, but even now, it's a CD I can listen to from start to finish without skipping a track. The same is true of 'The Renaissance', but without the overly commercial bits. This is a pure hip hop album from a man with one of the greatest voices in modern music. Unfortunately, most modern hip hop has ventured down a tedious, glossy, R-and-B influenced cul-de-sac. Q-Tip has done his own thing. The loops are simple, often jazzy, but I would hesitate to compare it to his Quest stuff, because that would make it sound dated, which it isn't. This is timeless, classic music.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The blueprint for future Hiphop, 4 Sept. 2010
This review is from: The Renaissance (Audio CD)
This masterpiece is what Hiphop should sound like in 2010 and beyond, it has all of the elements that made rap so exciting back in the 70s, 80s and 90s, uplifting, creative, funny, sad, inspiring with an awesome flow and level of maturity not heard in rap for decades. It is catchy as hell and production is raw without being too mainstream, more like the care free Tribe days. The rest of Hiphop seems to have crossed over into a parallel universe and mutated into Frankenstein's monster, whilst this album is firmly in this dimension and pushing Hiphop forwards into a healthy and positive well grounded future where it should be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cooler side of Hip Hop, 27 April 2009
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L. Ajayi (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Renaissance (Audio CD)
Q Tip once again has shown his versatility in delivering def rhymes and unforgetable beats. The album is a killer from start to finish with every track getting you to nod your head. A couple of signiture tunes that come to the forefront tracks 3,5 & 7 all banging. Well worth the money and can't wait for the next installment from him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Q-Tip in your ear, 18 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Renaissance (Audio CD)
WOW! After becoming a new fan of 'A Tribe Called Quest' and loving the beats and especially Q-Tips flow and style i decided to buy this and im so glad i did! This is one of the best albums i have heard in a long time and as i thought the beats dont dissapoint he really is a Midnight Marauder of ears! Brilliant!
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