The Renaissance is a solid effort from the leader of one of the most renowned- groups of hip-hop’s timeline, historically known as the Native Tongues era. Q-Tip’s greatest feat may have been the fact that he successfully pushed the boundaries of boom-bap, which often times can get protected and stagnated by it’s own pioneering producers and emcees. Everything that you expect from a Q-Tip album is sonically displayed from the bass knocking-harmonic production to delivering tales of love, current conditions and the future of hip-hop’s culture, with a slice of politics, with that signature voice and cadence which he often refers to as an instrument in itself.
Here’s the problem, we missed the full development of Q-Tip after we were introduced to him via his debut album Amplified, because of record label issues many of us missed out on what was to be his second installment, Kamaal the Abstract, which was to be released in ’02. So, the only thing we have to give this work real context is Amplified, which sounds similar at times to the Renaissance. However, The Abstract displays his talent and versatility–if you listen closely you can still here the expansion in the Renaissance, a perfect title for an artist who has dealt with many obstacles just to get his music out.
With all the redundancy that exists in rap music today, anything different would sound refreshing but “the Abstract” has the proven ability to take it a step further and progress the fundamental sound of the origins of rap music a little bit more with tracks like “You”, “Johnny is Dead” and “Official”. The Renaissance is an album to have in the collection, similar to a classic pair of Timbs.