Album review: 'The Renaissance,' by Q-Tip

Adam Huber

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a decade since Q-Tip’s solo album, "Amplified." It’s even harder to believe that he already had a whole career under his belt with A Tribe Called Quest long before that.

"Amplified" had all the bounce and jazzy sensibility of classic Tribe records but sported flashes of the rougher-edged music of Tip’s fellow Queens brethren. "The Renaissance" finds him once again blending the two, but melding them even further to make a record that bumps equally well bending corners and on the dance floor.

From the classic piano loop of the album’s single, “Gettin' Up” to the chopped-up guitar in “Official,” much of the album blends dirty drums with some well-chopped Motown and a few neo-soul touches.

“Move” cuts up “Dancing Machine,” Raphael Saadiq drops by to trade verses with Tip on the ups and downs of romance in “We Fight/Love” and a live drum loop power the uptempo “Manwomanboogie.”

And even though it’s a little weird to hear Norah Jones sing “Hip-hop is playin’ again/and it’s bangin’, too/And it’s bangin’ for you,” but she sounds good doing it (“Life is Better”).

Matter of fact, I really can’t find a bad thing to say about "Renaissance."

After a bit of a tepid year, at least in terms of big-time releases, hip-hop is making a nice little showing in the last quarter of 2008 (see Kool Keith, P Brothers, Mighty Underdogs, Black Milk).

"Renaissance" is another excellent collection of tracks from one of hip-hop’s best and most nimble MCs.

"The Renaissance" will be released Nov. 4. For more, visit

Sussex Countian