The Renaissance

Studio Album by released in 2008
The Renaissance's tracklist:
Johnny Is Dead
Won't Trade
Gettin' Up
We Fight/We Love (feat. Raphael Saadiq)
ManWomanBoogie (feat. Amanda Diva)
Dance on Glass
Life Is Better (feat. Norah Jones)
Believe (feat. D'Angelo)

The Renaissance review

Q-Tip’s second album proves to be the most anticipated

In the mid-nineties last century the rap band A Tribe Called Quest was on the peak of its fame. Its central figure was a unique singer and songwriter Jonathan Davis who had then just converted to Islam and took the name Kamaal Ibn John Fareed. Professionally he was better known as Q-Tip in which the letter Q stands for one of New York boroughs Queens where the rapper was born. His collective disbanded in 1998 to get together again several times later for various performances but it was then, ten years ago, that Kamaal Fareed’s solo career began. Yet releasing his solo debut album Amplified that proved quite danceable and closer to pop style the artist has not been pleasing the audience with new releases because of his unstable relationships with recording labels. Finally this autumn his official second album The Renaissance is released being probably the most anticipated hip-hop album of the year and fully justifying all the hopes pinned on it.

Hip-hop as it should be on The Renaissance

On The Renaissance Q-Tip really returns in his best form offering the real hip-hop as it should be to our attention. The artist has produced himself practically the whole record except for one track on which J Dilla joined him. Except for Q-Tip’s splendid rapping the album pleases with a nice list of guest stars that have refined a number of songs with their presence but they never outshine the main character of the play called The Renaissance. The fact that there are both pieces performed by the rapper alone and collaborations among the album’s best tracks also confirms that. One of them, composition Won't Trade is an example of the most quality hip-hop that only a talented performer like Q-Tip can demonstrate: a contagious beat and an appropriate sample are just faultless here. Professionally made audio effects on a complicated track Official add to the impression from smart lyrics while You, a rebuff to a cheated girlfriend, surprises with a sad soulfulness. Raphael Saadiq joins the rapper on We Fight/We Love about soldiers in Iraq and their women left at home whereas Manwomanboggie performed with Amanda Diva is a great relationship anthem. Another highlight definitely is composition Life Is Better refined with the splendid Norah Jones’ vocals while one of the most beautiful tracks is Believe featuring D'Angelo.

One of hip-hop founders

Today Q-Tip is rightfully considered one of hip-hop founders; his style and manner of performance have influenced such successful artists as Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco and bands like OutKast and The Roots. It is known that during the 9 years that have passed since his debut was released the artist never stopped working in the studio and his unreleased album Kamaal the Abstract received as warm a welcome in certain circles as his debut creation. Yet the rapper can really be proud of his official sophomore effort The Renaissance. The official release date 4 November, the presidential elections day in the USA is not a occasional coincidence for Q-Tip expresses his opinion concerning a number of topical issues on many of his new compositions. Besides, the first version of the final track Shaka is built on a sample featuring Barack Obama’s speech recording which is probably the rapper’s way to tell to whom he gives his voice. On the whole an attentive listener will hear much more interesting and smart lyrics on The Renaissance than most of modern genre representatives have to offer, basically boasting their wealth and success with women and surely conclude that waiting for Q-Tip’s second creation has been worth it.

Alexandra Zachernovskaya (24.11.2008)
Rate review4.03
Total votes - 26

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