January 24, 2018

Q-Tip - Kamaal/The Abstract (2009)

*Originally recorded & meant to be released in 2001 but was shelved by Artista Records. Advanced promos were also released. It was officially released in 2009 by Jive/Battery Records. Contains 1 bonus track. 10 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
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© 2009 Jive/Battery Records
AllMusic Review by John Bush
A personal, unique project compared to Amplified (Q-Tip's first under his own name), Kamaal the Abstract fittingly sounds more like a solo album; whereas Amplified merely built on the digital soul of the last Tribe Called Quest album (The Love Movement), this one is wide-ranging and diverse, a relaxed, loose-limbed date. Q-Tip lays way back on these cuts, rapping in a quick, low monotone for the opener, "Feelin'," even while the song breaks into some restrained guitar grind on the choruses. Guitars, in fact, crop up all over this record. Setting aside comparisons to the contemporary record by N.E.R.D. (the rock side project of hip-hop super-producers Neptunes), Q-Tip crafted a record that pays homage to the last gasp of organically produced mainstream pop in the '70s and '80s, paying a large compliment to Prince and Stevie Wonder, even as he proves himself far more talented than D'Angelo (if not quite as soulful). The beats are pointed and clipped, to be expected on a Q-Tip record, but he allows plenty of space for the arrangements to speak, like the trim trumpet lines pacing "Even if It Is So" or allowing plenty of room for extended blowing from a flute on the warm, pastoral "Do You Dig You." The former is one of the best tracks here, Q-Tip introducing his story song with a fluid, ten-second speed-rap that says more about the plight of the single mother he adores than any other rapper could with an entire album. This wasn't the kind of record that lights up the charts -- which could account for the reason it didn't appear on the shelves in late April 2002, as expected, and only earned an official release in 2009 -- but in many ways it's superior to the released Amplified. [The 2009 release via Jive included a bonus track, "Make It Work."]

tags: q-tip, q tip, kamaal the abstract, kamaal/the abstract, kamal, 2009, flac,

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