11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Long Time Coming...,
This review is from: Kamaal The Abstract (Audio CD)
First thing I'd like to say is that I am only giving this album four stars in comparison to Q-Tip's latest album, 'The Renaissance', which was an outstanding album. 'Kamaal The Abstract' has been a long time coming...recorded around 2001 but deemed too un-commercial for release - this album has been sitting on the shelves for years. Indeed advance copies of the album have been floating around the internet for a long time (I've had it for a good few years now) but the sound quality was a bit lacking so its great to finally have a perfect sounding version to take home.
In a way I can see why Arista Records were unsure what to do with this album. Recorded just a short time after Tip's most commercial sounding record 'Amplified', which had semi-radio friendly songs such as 'Breathe & Stop' & 'Vivrant Thing', 'Kamaal The Abstract' is NOTHING like its predecessor. Even compared to 'The Renaissance', which was a true hip-hop album for hip-hop heads this album can be a bit out there. As a whole the album has a jazzy feel to it and unlike 'Amplified' which mainly had Tip rapping over Dilla beats, this album makes use of live instruments much more (in that respect this album can at times sound like something we are used to hearing from The Roots). 'Do You Dig U?' is essentially a seven minute instrumental, 'A Million Times' is largely instrumental as well, whilst the last 2-3 minutes of 'Abstractionisms' tail off into what sounds an impromptu jamming session.
The music itself is outstanding - 'Feelin', the saxophone inspired 'Even If It Is So', and the aforementioned 'A Million Times' are among my favourite Tip songs. 'Barely In Love', however, gets my vote for best song on the album...trust me you haven't heard Tip sounding anything like this before! 'Caring' is really the only song on the album which does nothing for me...very out of place! The two new songs that were added to the original tracklist are 'Make It Work' & 'Damn You're Cool' - both sounds solid enough.
Overall, the album deserves a listen if nothing more than for being an extremely innovative & creative effort from Q-Tip. Perhaps not everything comes together on the album but it is a breathe of fresh air among all the crap rap/hip-hop that is out today (even tho it was recorded almost a decade ago!). True Q-Tip/hip-hop fans will love this album - though it has to be noted it wont be to everyone's taste!