The Renaissance (2LP)

$39.00 

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When the best rapper/producer in hip-hop history spends almost a decade without a record on the shelves (despite his best efforts), it has to be considered a crime - if not a tragedy. Difficult to tell, though, is why Q-Tip was bounced to five different labels within six years. He never pronounced himself angry about the situation, saying only that he continued to work, reportedly recording three full albums that were never released. (At least one of those, 2003's Kamaal the Abstract, was a reality, since it was only denied a release after promos were sent out.) His long-awaited return on The Renaissance is no disappointment, offering more of the same understated, aqueous grooves and fluid rapping that the Abstract Poetic has built his peerless career on. Although it has a few more message songs than his dance-heavy debut from 1999 (Amplified), many of these tracks are club grooves painted with the same production touches as ten years earlier; his work is still excellent 20 years after his career began, but he seems less interested in spinning four minutes of fluent rap for each track.