On the cover of his second solo album, Q-Tip is shown holding up one of many classic samplers – MPC2000XL – perhaps a subtle tribute to the Golden Age? Whatever his intentions were, Q-Tip brings back the raw vinyl touch of 80s and 90s hip-hop into the digital age.

What’s particularly amazing about The Renaissance is how Q-Tip manages to effortlessly merge the polished, modern sound of today with the soulful funk of the old-school era.

Building tracks using samples by Black Ivory and The Jackson 5 and looping gritty breakbeats, The Abstract also ropes in jazz musician Norah Jones and soul singers Raphael Saadiq and D’Angelo to compose a sophisticated, elegant and unified sound, unlike any other hip-hop record at the time. My guess, it’s what A Tribe Called Quest would have sounded like had they released an album in 2008.

Hip-hop listeners could have been blessed with this quiet and unassuming masterpiece a lot sooner had it not been for Arista Records (Tip’s label) who deemed the album unfit and lacking in commercial success; subsequently shelving for too long a time. As proven by The Renaissance and more recently, Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, these label suits have no fucking clue.

Written by Stop The Breaks
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.