The Hip Hop Mortuary

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2:13 PM

Q-Tip/The Renaissance

Posted by Guy Fawkes

Even as a 90's baby, (yes a 90's baby) I can still confidently say I grew up on A Tribe Called Quest. When most kids my age were falling out of love with Nickleback and Eminem, I was bumping Award Tour out of my mom's car... on the weekends. One of the most nostalgic moments of my present childhood was going to a record store that actually held The Low End Theory or Midnight Marauders and paying full price for both of them (remember I'm a 90's baby). Once I copped those albums I would play them inside out, back to front, and cover to cover until I knew the song better than Phife and Q-Tip. Needless to say, I'm a fan! Shortly after exploring the Tribe discography, I decided to investigate Q-Tip's short-lived solo career (until now anyway). As a huge jazz rap and abstract hip-hop head, I was somewhat dissappointed with the debut. So here's hoping to a better go-round the second (err..third) time around (Hear, Hear.)

1. Johnny Is Dead
If there's one thing that I really enjoy about Q-Tip it has to be his beautiful flow (no homo not even necessary). This isn't a bad song per se' but I couldn't really get into it because of the choppy flow equipped here. Everything else is pretty average too, the instrumental didn't really catch my ear and the hook is very ehhh... But it's a rap intro (fingers crossed).

2. Won't Trade
Had me nodding my head for the whole 2:41. The lyricism is pretty sick, and the whole song flows really well together. It's a concept track based on basketball (I think), and even though I'm not a fan of songs like these, I'll admit that this track is pretty hot. And I can't even imagine how many crates of records Q must have dug through before finding the vocal sample for this track.

3. Gettin' Up
Q-Tip's what 38? When he was 20 and making tracks like Electric Relaxation for the ladies it was cool. Not as a 40 year old though. "We can be like Martin and Coretta"... ehh. A cute sentiment, but your trying way too hard homie. This was an easy skip for me.

4. Official
Mess of a song. Choppy flow again, a vocal sample that doesn't fit the rhythm at all, and too much singing (I've never been a fan of Kamaal the singer). I had a hard time listening to this track.

5. You
This is more of the beats I was expecting to hear. Not a bad song, not much more than singing though. I'm not complaining though, I was feeling this track after a few listens.

6. We Fight/Love

A soft instrumental complements Tip's great storytelling, and Raphael Saadiq stops in for the hook. This is definitely a song for the grown-ups, so I wasn't really feeling it, but it's got potential... I've got potential to enjoy it soon!

7. Manwomanboggie
On this song he tries to explore man and woman's evolution. I don't know that this instrumental was the ideal platform for such an exploration. Wasn't really feeling this track.

8. Move
Double-sided song, the first half of the song is a dance track: "Here they come yo, here they come". A song clearly targeted for the ladies, but the second half of the track is a deeply introspective song. The instrumental sounds Renaissance-esque (like 15th century Europe), and is accented by some amazing story-telling. On some old school Tip ish. I'm disappointed these songs weren't separated, because the second half is amazing.

9. Dance On Glass
You know what? Props Q, he rocked the shit accapella for more than a minute and killed it! This song is put together very strangely, but is definitely worth a listen. I don't know about the singing at the start though.

10. Life Is Better
Life would be better if Q-Tip didn't make songs like this. Maybe it's just me but this seemed like a half-assed hip hop ode. Just me... I have a snaking suspicion John was feeling this track.

11. Believe
I wanted to love this song, but I just couldn't. The beat is magnificent, but the message that ties the song together is somewhat lacking.

12. Shaka
Another poignant production, and this is a great way to finish up this album. No matter how the material before it sounds, this song will leave you wanting more Q-Tip.

And that will conclude this album. To tell the truth, I was somewhat dissapointed. The album itself was to be expected. Lately Q-Tip among numerous other rappers has begun singing more than rhyming. This album is somewhat similar to his second LP Kamaal the Abstract, in terms of singing. But this is Q's finest produced album to date. Considering he produced or co-produced almost the whole album, that is quite an achievement. There's something here for everyone, so check it! "Here they come yo, here they come...."

0-20: Terrible listening experience
21-40: Maybe one good song
41-60: A few good songs
61-80: Half are good songs, half are weak
81-100: Great listening experience, almost all are great songs

I give this album a 73.

You can find a download here


M* said...

" here's hoping to a better go-round the second (err..third "

LOL - I KNO I THOUGHT THIS WAS HIS FIRST, i gotta see his first. people were jammin to his first cd at the concert it must of been good

--Coretta n martin --lmao-- qtip is a old sexy

M* said...

manwoman boogie was kinda weird for me on the cd--amanda kinda retreives it - sounds lik a solange song

Kofi Bofah said...


How are you a 90's baby?

I am 28, and describe myself as an 80's baby.

You ain't a baby anymore at age 16.

Guy Fawkes said...

Age 18, 19 in 3 months.

"You ain't a baby anymore at age 16"

And you are at 28?

Something lost in the translation here homie.
And why is everyone tripping on that 90's baby comment?

Cooper said...

Wow... Tip has the best album of the year...

this is definetly 85+

Oh, I'm 32

Anonymous said...

Manwomanboogie is in fact an original Sample from a song from the 70's by a band Called "Can" they were an experimental rock band formed in West Germany.
so for me great choice of sample. so of course thats what gives Q-Tip he's flow on the song. and the text is of course something i would tune into more then most Rap songs that can't seem to require my ear attension nowadays. The whole feeling i get about this album is that is has been reduced more than the first version that was floating around called Live @ The Renaissance (2005)and that was a more full body album, much prefered that version

ddrppr said...

i listen to this album all the time, i will listen to this album down the road even after its gotten old. I cant say the same for kanye and common's albums. this is classic to me in an era of stagnant hiphop and the industry is oversaturated with hot garbage. Check the remix to renaissance with busta , raekwon, and lil wayne. this album deserves better than a 73 and the reviewer isnt well versed in The Abstract, i can tell. this may not be classic along the quest standards but i know i wasnt disappointed. you are entitled to your opinion though so peace....

Eurasian Sensation said...

Damn, can't believe you dismissed "Gettin' Up" so easily. Whether you like the lyrics or not, musically it is awesome - nice sample, catchy hook. My favourite track of the last year.