Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip - The Abstract & The Dragon (Mixtape Review)

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While it's only comprised of a handful of original tracks, "The Abstract And The Dragon" is a cohesive mix of Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip's old and new material.

 

Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip“The Abstract & The Dragon” (Mixtape Review)  DX Consensus: “EP-Worthy”

When Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip decide to perform CPR on New York Rap two weeks before December 25th, it’s obvious that Christmas came early. Their recently-released mixtape, “The Abstract And The Dragon” comes at a point wherein New York Rap is in a regenerative place. Two of the hottest New York Rap records in 2013 arguably came from a guy that until recently was accused of co-opting Ghostface Killah’s flow, and another who collaborated with a producer associated with the evolution of dubstep. When talented and hardworking emcees like Action Bronson and A$AP Rocky (and his mob of friends) fail to inspire the creation of “boom bap shit” (as Busta says on the mixtape’s intro), there’s the perception of a major problem. New York is the birthplace of the genre, yet rappers from Atlanta and Compton have recently made very legitimate claims on the city retaining its grip on being the cradle of Rap music and Hip Hop culture. Thus, lyrical aggravator Busta Rhymes and the silky smooth Q-Tip get called into action on “The Abstract And The Dragon,” and in nearly 90 brilliant minutes succeed in placing the crown just out of the reach of a universe attempting to wrest it from the Big Apple’s grasp.

This mixtape presupposes that the last 10 years of Rap music never even occurred. Albums are still selling, corporations still can’t quite figure out how to be down and the top rappers in the game are still hungry. This album is best listened to in a smoked out haze while wearing a Carhartt jacket, Champion hoodie, baggy Guess jeans and either a fresh pair of Jordans or Timberland boots. Though Tommy Lee Jones attempted to tell us six years ago that there’s No Country For Old Men, one of the great benefits of the Internet is that typical rules of life no longer exist, and if they try hard enough, our heroes can become ageless within their timeless legacy.

“The Abstract And The Dragon” is comprised of only four original offerings. While that’s an incredibly small ratio on a project that boasts 22 tracks, both parties bring an incredible amount of focus whether they’re keeping things simple or “abstract.” Major hits like mixtape closers “Scenario” (and its remix), as well as rare b-sides like the still excellent 1991 Big Daddy Kane, Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes collaboration “Come On Down” and ultimate Chris Lighty and Violator Management tribute “Vivrant Thing” are included. As a cohesive whole, the current and classic material mesh well and nothing feels out of place.

If “Butch And Sundance” is supposed to make us think of the duo as gunslingers, then, yeah: Tip’s got the 9 MM with the silencer and Busta’s shotgun unquestionably registers one shot and one kill every time. To continue using murderous metaphors to describe the levels of The Abstract and The Dragon’s excellence, the grizzled lyrical executioners on this mixtape do pull out their swords, but the sound of their blades cutting through the skin and bones of the “weak emcees who fled” (as Tip says on Juice Crew’s “The Symphony” recaller “Renaissance Rap”) and the arguably less than gifted isn’t accompanied by a violent crunch, but rather sounds as effortless as scissors cutting through paper.

“The Abstract And The Dragon” doesn’t turn up as much as it shows and proves. It gets settled in a mood and groove, the only change in bodily reaction to the music being moving from a head nod to a two-step for the entertainingly remixed “Thank You.” If in any way confusing this for anything but an anthem that in being hot at the Tunnel for ‘93 should be the party crusher at cabarets worldwide in ‘13, none other than DJ Kid Capri plays party-rocking MC-as host instead of rhymer on the record. Letting the OG drop for 32 more bars on the chorus, then mixing back in the new school vocal edit of the Alicia Myers classic, all of the stuff that once made Rap music the pinnacle of hip-hop culture is on display.

Busta Rhymes’ first bars that he spits on this mixtape include saying that he feels like a “baby speaking [his] first words” again. As well, on the brief preview of Q-Tip production “Pardon My Ways” from his forthcoming ELE 2 project—upon hearing the thick drums and mellifluous piano sample—Busta immediately invokes the spirit of reggae legend Peter Tosh. If anything, “The Abstract And The Dragon” proves that while you can’t ever re-live the past, it is possible to resurrect the script, tell the entire story over again, and proceed with grace, dignity and excellence. At a time wherein grace, dignity and excellence have been replaced with ratchet, molly and turn up, those values are more important than ever before. Thankfully, in the age of the Internet, age and time are irrelevant. And just as the mixtape’s first track is named, the gods don’t just live through, it’s entirely possible that they can live and reign forever.

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47 Comments

  • FUCKYOU

    This shit was fire. Worst review ever.

  • tom t

    any neutral ready this review would think this author only has hate in his heart. poor show for someone who purports to be a fan and scholar or hip hop. this mixtape is a refreshing breeze in an otherwise stale room of haters and the uneducated.

  • Pinn

    Dag yo Mr. Dowling, that is some seriously garrulous reviewership. I myself am well established as a proficient and prolific run-on-sentencer loath to interrupt related clauses with foolish little punctuation marks, and even I got lost a few times in there brah. Otherwise, I believe I hold similar love and respect for these two legends to yourself, and while I haven't listened yet your review has this mixtape at the top of my list of "bump this next". Got my Carharrt jacket on already, now where's that damn Champion hoody?

  • Azup

    I know the most part this is a compilation of old tracks, but it's still dope. This is mixtape was made to make a statement and that is that Busta and Q-Tip are getting back to that "Real Hip-Hop" that "Boom-Bap". Which alot of us fans miss. Plus the few exclusive tracks are amazing. The title track "The Abstract and the Dragon", "Butch and Sundance", "We Taking Off" and the snippet "Pardon My Ways" which got really excited for "ELE 2".

  • D-nice

    Do you know gillie da kid you chump

  • chris baker

    i havent heard busta on his game like this in a minute. And Tip still rockin killer verses. Both of them compliment each others styles well

  • WEF

    weak as fuck. some good shit i already heard at least 10 years ago, and a lots of b-side lame stuff

  • Poppa Large is a keyboard warrior

    @Poppa large, nobody is so interested in your opinion, that they want to see your ass responding to every comment. You're saying the same thing every time, so one comment was sufficient. Everybody's bored sometimes, but don't bore other people with your whack comments if you are.

  • Elogik Supreme

    Extrememly disappointed.. Busta and Q-Tip basically just pump faked us..Not wack but not new either.

  • NJD

    these 2 legends owe you people nothing. be glad you got any new material for free. if anything the point of the album should have been that these old tracks are infinitely better then the shit that gets released these days that you pay good money for.

  • poppa large

    build the culture. release some new stuff for free instead of old tracks under the guise of "a new mixtape" in order to promote yourselves! your fans have been there since 1990! wheres the real mixtape? or at least get kid capri or someone to do a real DJ mix and yell on it a bit and make a real mixtape that is worth hearing CAUSE WE ALREADY HAVE THESE SONGS...

  • Anonymous

    Real hip hop lives!!!

  • yea

    Anyone know where I can find the production credits? Curious to see.

  • MrRicoSlick

    I think majority of Hip Hop DX commentors are the most sensitive and patronizing followers of the culture. So the mixtape is a collection of tracks sampled from old records but instead of enjoying the nostalgic appeal they bicker about being ripped off and having their expectations trampled on. Stop whining and enjoy the music you got it for free didn't you? Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes put it out there and those of us who grew up in the golden age appreciate the sentiment regardless of whether we have the tracks in our album collections or not. Because that's irrelevant.

    • poppa large

      sensitive? no. bit its o.k. to be passionate about artists and have standards as far as what i will accept from them. after all i've suppoorted them(bought all the albums, defended them, promoted them to people back in the day etc) since 1989 (tribes 1st album). So yeah i have all these songs already and dont really appreciate this mix. it would be dope if it was all blended by a good DJ but its not even close. like i said they got our hopes up and they should have let people know it was going to be all old collabs instead of basically making people think and hope it was all new. i'm done complaining now. dont act like you wernt a bit let down when you found out it was all old although classic material.

  • u lose q tip

    crusta rhymes the fat gorrilla roid junky is trash. Nothing but a ymcmb faggot. Q tip lost for working with crusta rhymes

  • poppa large is mad at tip and busta-they sholud do better for there fans

    they ripped us off by getting our hopes up and promoting it and then giving us a big lump of old tracks! i'm not stupid so it pisses me off. busta and tip had the ability(money,connects,etc) to record at least 10 new tracks to bless the people with since we were all excited that busta and tip were doing a tape together. then we get old stuff??? and you know they both have a couple dozen unreleased tracks collecting dust- they could have at least threw them on there. they should have promoted the tape as a greatest collabs or something . but they were sneaky and promoted it as a new tape with that new song "thank you" which reinforced peoples perception that it was all new shitt on the tape. seriously, these dudes are getting old and lazy. wheres kemo album Busta? or when is ELE 2 dropping? 2019?

    • poppa large the panty raida

      listen man, your sayin old and new material when its only 5% new. ha ha- DUH!!! dont defend your false idols too much. the sheep will eat whatever you give them if there hungry!

    • DUH

      While it's only comprised of a handful of original tracks, "The Abstract And The Dragon" is a cohesive mix of Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip's old and new material.

  • Stanucci

    Gucci mane is the blueprint of a real nigga and heres why GUCCI MANE is the realest rapper and heres why. 1) all other rappers rap about being gangster shooting and killing but they havent done it. 2) Eminem raps about killing he hasnt. 3)Jay z raps in open letter about sending shots he hasnt. 4)Nas raps about how he is a queens thug but he wasn't. 5)Most of the rappers rap about stuff they havent done yet you all support them and say its real rap. 6)When rick ross does it you all claim he is fake and say its fake rap. This shows that hiphop fans are hypocritical and all these real hiphop fan wanna be's are just some unjustified haters whose opinions are just as irrelevent as the swag fag rapper fans. GUCCI MANE KILLED A MAN HE WAS A DRUG DEALER BEFORE RAPPER HE HAS STREET CREDENTIALS HE IS THE ONLY RAPPER THAT RAPS ABOUT FACTS THERE FORE BIG GUWOP IS THE REALEST RAPPER IN THE RAP GAME AND THATS A FACT!

  • Jon

    If you don't like this you never listened to real shit

  • Anonymous

    Tribe and Busta took ques from the great Three 6 Mafia by putting out old and new material from young, new and old fans to enjoy. Out of respect I will say Erick Sermon and Redman did it recently too

  • Anonymous

    When I heard about this project I was expecting new material and was interested to see what these two would pull out... am I the only one really disappointed that it's basically just a compilation mixtape rather than an actual joint album? I guess the loophole is in the word mixtape... as a mixtape (at least to me) is just a compilation of either old or new tracks or a mix of both and not necessarily unheard material. Where as a studio album is strictly new unheard tracks (aside from singles obviously) and this isn't pitched as an album, it says mixtape... guess I should of known this being a new collab album was too good to be true.

  • Anonymous

    Busts, is too f&@?!$#% funny

  • poppa large

    cant believe these rich dudes ripped us off and gave us old shit when they had the mixtape promoted and could have done so much better! CLOWNS!!

    • jef

      ripped off??? how much did you pay?

    • poppa large

      they ripped us off by getting our hopes up and promoting it and then giving us a big lump of old tracks! i'm not stupid so it pisses me off. busta and tip had the ability(money,connects,etc) to record at least 10 new tracks to bless the people with since we were all excited that busta and tip were doing a tape together. then we get old stuff??? and you know they both have a couple dozen unreleased tracks collecting dust- they could have at least threw them on there. they should have promoted the tape as a greatest collabs or something . but they were sneaky and promoted it as a new tape with that new song "thank you" which reinforced peoples perception that it was all new shitt on the tape. seriously, these dudes are getting old and lazy. wheres kemo album Busta? or when is ELE 2 dropping? 2019?

    • dinglord

      Ripped you off with a free tape?

  • poppa large

    if this shit came out in the 90's it would be laughed at. old material most people already have.

  • bee

    They brought hip hop back to where it is supposed to be. i feel sorry for any emcee trying to drop an album in 2014!

  • american

    they shouldve left that low end theory cover alone. whata travesty

  • ganga

    my co-worker's mother-in-law makes $71 hourly on the internet. She has been without work for eight months but last month her check was $12184 just working on the internet for a few hours. hop over to this website>>>>bay91 ( COPY bay91 INTO YOUR BROWSER AND ENTER TO SEE Musical MAGIC)

  • Controverse

    Wait just a second. This tape is mostly previously released material. While that catalog is rather timeless, put in the context of this mixtape it's pretty stale. Why listen to a mixtape of songs you already own? Plus, the whole Symphony schtick on the Renaissance Remix seems really forced. In addition, is the whole preamble about New York Hip-Hop being weak necessary? Action Bronson, Pro Era, World's Fair, ASAP Mob are all artistically viable New York artists. Do all, or any, of their songs have to sound like boom-bap for them to be considered New York rappers? Does Kendrick Lamar need to sound like he's making G-Funk? At what point are artists allowed to be inspired by more than just geography?

  • Olivier F.

    Dope mixtape, bringing us back in the great times of Native Tongues !

  • Sarita Guay

    just before I looked at the paycheck which said $5779, I have faith that...my... sister was really taking home money part-time on their computer.. there friends cousin has done this 4 only 11 months and by now paid for the depts on there villa and bourt a brand new Citron DS. check this site out... www.Fb39.Com good synth/production work but some of those synths are way over used. Jay was boss mobbin but Cam is still better

  • Anonymous

    This shit is a free album!

    • required field

      free album? not exactly.. the fact that theres only 2 or 3 new tracks on it kinda puts a stop to it being an album.