The Renaissance took nearly a decade to make, but it’s worth the wait, said Simon Vozick-Levinson in Entertainment Weekly. Since releasing his solo debut, Amplified, in 1999, the former frontman of A Tribe Called Quest has been “trapped in major-label purgatory”—which, for Q-Tip, meant being bounced from six labels in five years. This long-awaited album marks the return of one of rap’s finest. On opener “Johnny Dead,” Q-Tip confirms his faith in himself and hip-hop: “It’s up to me to bring back the hope / the feeling in the music that you can quote.” The Renaissance sounds as “fresh and necessary” as the Tribe did in the 1990s. Well, maybe not quite as fresh, said Nathan Rabin in The Onion. While certainly a strong comeback, The Renaissance can’t compare to his early work. “Q-Tip’s past haunts the album,” from his eloquent flow to his smooth, jazz-inflected beats. “Evolution isn’t always necessary,” said Jon Dolan in Blender, especially if you have Q-Tip’s “buttery delivery” and rhythmic finesse. The Renaissance recalls “rap’s Edenic golden age,” and it’s a welcome return to form.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 10 things you need to know today: October 25, 2014
- Here comes the Pentagon's newest space plane
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- Everything you need to know about the voter ID controversy
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Extreme haunted houses: Inside Halloween's most terrifying new trend
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- How 1,000-year lifespans could remake the economy
Subscribe to the Week