BMG / Arista
our score: 3.0 out of 5.0
the Tribe Behind
it is. The album that we've all been waiting for since that fateful
day on the Beastie Boys last tour. Yes, that's right....the day
that Q-Tip stood up on stage as the opening act and told everyone
at the show that The Love Movement would be the last Tribe Called
Quest album and the group was splitting for each to take their
separate ways. (review
of concert they announced it at)
day was followed by the mass media announcement to which half
of America's air was suddenly sucked out as one collective gasp
was taken by all hip-hop fans. We could all breathe again about
ten seconds later when we realized the talent that the individual
members possessed. This led everyone of us to believe that solo
projects were not far behind. On top of that, the increasing dependence
of Q-Tip's lyrics on the previous two Tribe albums made it a fair
assumption that the first project to be released would come from
no other than Q-Tip himself.
us to the release of Amplified. Before this album even
hit the shelves, it already had quite a bit of weight resting
squarely on its shoulders. Both history and current projects have
a tendency to build pressure on those who are anticipated. As
far as history is concerned, since Q-Tip is the first member to
release a solo project, he finds himself in the position to continue
the tradition of possibly two of the most hailed hip-hop albums
in history: more specifically The Low End Theory and Midnight
the other type of pressure revolves around the disappointment
felt by quite a few in recent memory. This comes in the form of
the last two Tribe albums as well as the Violator compilation.
The fluidity, masterful lyrics and wholly original samples found
in the earlier Tribe works were somehow replaced with a discordant
sound with unneeded guest appearances on recent projects.
But the most
important matter at hand is still the release of Amplified. From
taking a look at the album sleeve, we know that there will be
pieces of Tribe in the album which has been trademarked by the
production style of the Ummah.
starts with "Wait up," which shows the typical Tribe feel of sitting
heavy on beat 1 and 3, but the hook piano sample is somehow more
Q-Tip than Pfife. The depiction of real life found in earlier
recordings has been replaced by more of a house feel of lyrics
which will be consistent throughout the album.
Stop" is definitely the hottest club track to come out of hip-hop
of the year. An irresistible beat behind lyrics basically about
movin it lends it to a wider audience that the Tribe could never
reach. Two tracks later, we find "Let's Ride" which is very reminiscent
of Beats, Rhymes and Life stemming from its acoustic instrument
sampling and musing about what goes on in his head, both from
his influences and also how they affect his song writing.
the insightful chorus to "Things U Do" (without much in the actual
song), fatty party beats continue through "All In" and "Vivrant
Thing" until the most original beats on the record are heard late
in the album on his compilation with Busta Rhymes, "N.T.".
"End of Time"'s
compilation effort of Q-Tip is inventive in its choice of sampling,
but the complete lack of similarity in content of Q-Tip and Jonathan
Davis (of Korn) makes the song completely incohesive. Amplified
lends a view into a window of Q-Tip that most of haven't seen
before. Undoubtedly, he reinforces his talent and ability to choose
incredible samples which match both his tone and content.
the album lacks fluidity from track to track and an insightful
piece of Q-Tip's mind which we don't even hear until the hidden
track at the end of the record. Q-Tip will no doubt attract a
larger audience with this recording. Hopefully, that was his aim.