There are a lot of underrated artist in hip-hop, but Q-tip really shouldn’t be one of them. I think most hip-hop nerds would agree to call him “The smoothest man in hip-hop”, because, you know, he’s so smooth. His flow, voice, delivery, character throughout the music is just so gently polished – smooth. He’ be talking to bitches while being lyrical ASF and still spitting some knowledge bar after bar.
Q-tip started out in the group Tribe Called Quest, that was really popular for the moment in early 90’s but their style, as well as most of other NY rappers, got overshadowed by Gangsta movement. Despite that, Tribe earned a lot of respect and put their signature on the rap map. Their influence is still around even to this day. (Rest in peace to Phife dawg).
Soon after the group kind a fell out, Q-tip actively started to work on his solo projects. He still wasn’t a huge mainstream artist, but remained true to underground and real rap fans. I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of Q-tip, until I heard his collaboration with Busta Rhymes – Abstract and the Dragon.
Busta and Kamal gathered up all the classic beats they ever rapped, along with their friends and made a really good compilation – freestyle kind of an album. It’s always really dope to hear other rappers spitting on each other’s records. My first favorite track was “The renaissance”, thus I discovered Q-tip’s album with the same name. That record is sampled from the J Dilla’s beat (RIP). But not the whole beat, just a little part of Dilla’s beat was enough to make another beat (how crazily talented that guy was). All tough the remixed track features Lil Wayne, I have to say he did a good job. His style and money oriented verses were really good and in with the tone of the whole song. I smiled when I heard him start like: “…Money at the dinner table like/ let’s eat cash..” I don’t why, but way he says it, to me it’s kind a dope.
Anyways, let’s move on. The whole album is classic boom-bap and pays homage to pioneers of it. Busta spits bars after bars, coming off with his classic flow and even steals “Abstract and the dragon” from Q-tip, not letting him on the mic. “We’re taking off” is classic chill out NY jazzmataz style, and after that Q-tip proceeds to with his raw and slick rhymes on the “N.T.”. “Butch sundance” as I said it before, classic boom-bap and two of the MC’s go back and forth, it’s like they involve you with their music, it feels like you’re there in the studio with them watching two of great rappers have fun with music and enjoy the vibe to the fullest.
With these and other classic track you’ll find on the record are some of the finest of hip-hop, high class, giants, real lyricists expressing love for hip-hop. Almost every track is a must know for any hip-hop fan. I always felt this record didn’t gain as much recognition as it should’ve had, so go and check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
“Hip-hop ain’t pop if you call it to stop”