Sunday, January 11, 2009


The Renaissance by Q-Tip is my favorite hip-hop album of the year. It doesn't pander, Tip's not bending over for the industry, or to be "current," he's not hitting up the hottest producers of the moment or guest MCs. He's pictured in the CD booklet (and on the cover) with a sampler and a keyboard - pointing out that he makes his own beats, he has the vision behind his music. He ain't the guy waiting for someone to give him some beats or samples.

None of that would be important if the album wasn't great though. I totally dig it. The single, "Gettin' Up," is great and there's so many other great songs, "Move," "Johnny Is Dead," and the really surprising "Life Is Better," which features Norah Jones. Norah's becoming quite the hip-hop collaborator, having also worked with Wyclef, Andre 3000 and Talib Kweli. Anyway, this album is great, but it isn't going to get shoved down your throat. These days in hip-hop, it seems like you aren't relevant unless you don't have a huge marketing campaign behind you, corporate tie-ins, film roles, etc. Whatever. If you love hip-hop, check this one out.

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