Q-Tip - The Renaissance

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Disregarding The Renaissance when you don't hear "Scenario 2008" will only make you feel silly when you finally learn to appreciate it in 2018.

While 1999's Amplified was the last full album that Q-Tip [click to read] actually released, it certainly wasn't the last one he made. His career since then has been a harsh lesson in Industry Rule #4080 with three entire albums that were reduced to bootleg collectors items and two random singles that never actually made it to a real LP. Ultimately, the check-writers didn't feel that Q-Tip's "Abstract" art projects would meet the expectations of fans who were still looking for more Tribe [click to read] and he struggled to get his hard work into anyone's hands.

With the history leading up to it, The Renaissance could have easily become a train wreck had Tip chosen to compromise his artistic vision simply for the sake of getting an album in stores. Those familiar with any of his false starts might initially assume that he's done just that but thankfully, the return to traditional Hip Hop doesn't come off like a compromise with Universal--he's apparently legitimately interested in expressing himself through rhyme again.

"Gettin' Up" [click to listen] is no bait-and-switch single and the rest of The Renaissance generally follows suit. The clean, well-edited 12-song lineup doesn't leave him much room to get lost in his own imagination so the overall effect leaves the intended impression.