Q-Tip - Amplified      
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written by Philip Oliver    
We all knew this album was coming way before we heard ‘Vivrant thing’ in fact we knew it was coming as soon as A Tribe Called Quest disbanded last year. Even as far back as ‘Its yours’ when Tip posed as the Lone ranger we knew he’d be coming with some solo shit, Quest or no Quest. ‘Vivrant thing’ gained some mixed opinions when it dropped in the summer of this year, personally it grew on me and I like it but it is by no means an indication of what this album has to offer. So those of you who were expecting 13 ‘Vivrant things’ may be disappointed as this album nods in the direction the Quest were moving in before they hit the lows of ‘Beats Rhymes & Life’ and ‘The love movement’. We can’t forget this is Tips solo joint, no Phife backing him up in the rhyming or Ali Shaheed with the input on production but it seems he has got over that obstacle and he’s done it well

This album is made in the way albums used to be made, tracks kept to the level that seeks to eliminate filler, no skits and no need to rely on a cameo appearance for each track. It seems Q-Tip comes in for the 3-4 minutes of each track, does what he feels and cuts it off just at the right moment without it dragging on. ‘Wait up’ is a sufficient example of this as this is the opening track, no pointless intro about how he came up or how this album is gonna be the shit, he comes in with some ill shit to let you know Q-tip ain’t fallen off. We get straight into ‘Higher’ which is just as dope with that familiarity in production and lyrical positivity courtesy of Tip which you can also find on ‘Things U do’.

‘Vivrant Thing’ makes its 3rd album appearance (It’s already been on the Violator Album and Quests ‘Anthology’) I already said I like the track but it somehow seems out of place with the rest of the albums vibe. ‘Breathe and stop’ the latest single doesn’t suffer from this though and sits nicely in place with its shuffling beat and harder edged Ummah sound with the rest of the tracks.

Undoubtedly the best track on this album is the cool funk of ‘Lets ride’, over one of the dopest beats I heard all year Q-tip drops his usual rhymes and singing for the hook, its just a pity we didn’t get this in time for summer. Busta Rhymes and Korn are the only guest appearances on this album, and they offer very little vocal input compared to most cameo appearances. Busta provides the hook on the excellent ‘N.T.’, its piano driven production is a twist on what you would normally hear Tip rap over as he ‘Surprise your ass at the end like the sixth sense’. Busta is amusing as ever doing the hook and leaving the track, literally. Korn actually take Q-Tips sound again in another direction, which is a good thing - avoiding this ‘Hip Rock’ shit they make ‘End of time’ a nice collaboration. If you look hard enough you will find a hidden track at the end of the album after the Korn track, and this seems like its Q-tips reflection joint. He gets personal on here and describes how he came up and how he got into hip hop, right up to how and when quest broke up, it’s a nice track but suffers a little monotony towards the end.

Overall this album is tight, like I already said he’s made it in the way albums used to be made and that’s definitely a plus. There is a weak link here and there, I was a bit disappointed in ‘Do it’ as it brought the flow of the album down a little early on but it just seems that it was misplaced and would seem more at home towards the end. This album could have been really bad but thankfully it has been made well and shows Q-tip is eligible as a solo artist and there is no question of his rhyming skills. It may be short and to the point but this album is evidence enough that some of the classic Quest vibe still lives on even after ‘Midnight Marauders’.

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