Wednesday, November 12, 2008


So this week's theme is going to be
hip-hop and R&B. First off is Q-Tip's new album, The Renaissance. I'm glad it came out at all - his last two albums were shelved by his record labels. He is a really ambitious artist, and doesn't pander, and that may be why he has never sold tons of records, but it's also why people still care about him after all these years. His last album came out in 1999! That's a long time in any genre, especially hip-hop. He has some cool guests on the album, including Norah Jones, D'Angelo (also on sabbatical) and Raphael Saadiq. It's a really ambitious album, and I really dig it.

Speaking of Raphael, I really dig his album, The Way I See It. It's more than a tribute to Motown, it's more like a thank you letter. I believe in saying "thank you," and I love old Motown, so I'm cool with this album. I'm sure some people will complain that it sounds too old-school Motownish. This is my favorite of the albums I'll be talking about this week.

I was really looking forward to John Legend's new album, Evolver. I like it, but don't love it. it sounds very contemporary R&B, and is a bit more Brian McKnight than Al Green or Marvin Gaye. That's just my take. I like "Everybody Knows," and also his Estelle collaboration, "No Other Love," which features the great reggae sax player Dean Fraser. I also like his Barack Obama tribute song, "If You're Out There." The great thing about John Legend: you don't have to enjoy every album equally, he's gonna be around for a long time.

I'm also talking about tracks from upcoming albums by Common and Kanye West. Common's has a very Afrika Bambaataa electro sound (the songs were actually produced by Pharell) and I like them. I'm not super into Kanye's new autotune heavy singing.

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