In these hard times, we can all stand a ray of hope. Hope in hip-hop now comes from the legendary Q-Tip, he of A Tribe Called Quest fame. His long-delayed album Kamaal the Abstract, slated originally for release in 2001, is finally dropping September 15th on Battery Records. A musical hybrid, Kamaal was commendably avant-garde at the time of its creation. Amazingly, itÂ’s even more apropos in 2009; given the dearth of musical merit and capable MCs in todayÂ’s hip-hop, the time is ever-so-right for Tip.
Kamaal the Abstract is an intensely idiosyncratic and revealing record. To that end, Q-Tip produced the entire album himself, even playing several instruments. What comes from Kamaal is a daring mÃ©lange of soul, supa-cool jazz, headnodding hip-hop, and organic pop magic in the vein of Stevie Wonder or Prince. Check for the superlative figures of saxophonist Kenny Garrett, a one-time member of Miles DavisÂ’ ensemble, on the breathy Â“Abstractionisms.Â” Or the fluid flute lines of Gary Thomas, another Davis sideman, on Â“Do U Dig U.Â” Elsewhere, note TipÂ’s ambitious production, arrangements, and even sung stylings.
But make no mistake: Kamaal the Abstract still boasts all the earmarks of Q-TipÂ’s inimitable mic control. Listen to him blaze through a spiced narrative on Â“Even If It Is So.Â” Or paint vivid images on Â“Blue Girl.Â” The album has been re-mixed and re-mastered for sonic impact, though it retains the original album artwork. Neil Levine SVP/GM of Battery Records is proud to release this buried treasure from Q-Tip: Â“Kamaal the Abstract/Q-Tip is a true visionary and ahead of his time. These songs sound more contemporary now than when they were first recordedÂ”. Kamaal the Abstract drops September 15th. Better late than never.