If The Renaissance is anything, it’s a love record. “Man and women get down,” the Abstract Poetic commands on the pulsing, disco-inflected “ManWomanBoogie”. Witness Q-Tip duet with Norah Jones (uh, what?) aside a charming stand-up bass on “Life Is Better”. But the talented MC never submits to idealism; “WeFight/WeLove,” a pause in the album’s incredible pacing, sees Q-Tip weighing the bliss of true love against loss of personal identity. Clarity in audio format.
The Renaissance somehow straddles nostalgia and innovation. For every old school splash of a cappella (“Dance on Glass,” “Johnny Is Dead”) comes the snap, crackle, pop of a drum machine or squawking synth. Stylistic flourishes aside, Q-Tip is still producing the most refreshing hip-hop in the genre. He’s still the same musical genius he was 20 years ago, and he probably always will be.
Q-Tip – Life Is Better (feat. Norah Jones) (removed 2/13/09)