"The greatest producer on the mic" will forever be linked with Diamond D and his verse on The Fugees' "The Score", and while both Diamond and Q-Tip would make my top 10 of best producers of all time my personal choice for best producer on the mic would quite undoubtedly fall upon The Abstract. The way that he both was responsible for the timeless musical arrangements and most of the equally timeless verses on his Tribe crew's three first albums (as well as a large chunk of the two final records as well), not to mention his many outstanding works as a producer-for-hire which included productions for artists such as Nas, Craig Mack, Mobb Deep, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Run-DMC, and many others (including co-producing the entirety of jazz guitarist and close friend Kurt Rosenwinkel's 2003 album "Heartcore"). Together all this amounts to an extremely impressive production portfolio. Last year I collected 16 of my favorite non-Tribe 'Tip productions on my compilation "Abstractions of Funk", so be sure check that out if you haven't.
Yet, Q-Tip is most likely even more known as an emcee, and a truly legendary one at that. Since he bursted on to the scene as a focused youngin' in '89 with classics such as "Bonita Applebum" and "Can I Kick It?", his unmistakable nasal flow, clever wordplay, and humorous but often very personal lyrics has been a true staple of hip-hop forever since. As first evident by how each Tribe album took a new musical direction, he's one who's surely never been afraid of change and trying out new things. These qualities are the makings of a true artist - from his first solo album, the often misunderstood "Amplified" (1999) to the experimental but often brilliant "Kamaal/The Abstract" (2002), 'Tip now made it clear that he would dissapoint those fans not willing to let their favorite artist break free of what was expected from him rather than put any artistic restraints on himself. The label however didn't share Fareed's enthusiasm for the experimental and the eclectic; both his albums "Kamaal/The Abstract" was passed over by the label and shelved, until 2011 when Q-Tip finally got the masters back, and what would become his Motown debut "Open" in 2005 (I will post this album in a minute). A few of the standouts from the latter would be remade and remixed for what at the moment is 'Tip's latest album, the critically acclaimed "The Renaissance" that took a more back-to-basics approach. Entirely produced by the artist himself (save for two tracks handled by the late, great J Dilla), and with very little guest artists, the result was one of the absolute strongest LP:s of 2008, as well as a celebration of the true best producer of the microphone.
Next up in the Q-Tip saga is an album ("The Last Zulu") on the more commercially oriented Kanye West operated G.O.O.D. Music imprint. Undoubtedly, it will be very interesting to see how this will turn out, but as Kamaal never have been one to compromise his musical integrity, I sure ain't worried. Add to that, Q-Tip's recent productions (Kanye West, Jay-Z/Kanye, Roc Marciano, John Legend, etc) and the few new tracks on his new mixtape with Busta Rhymes "The Abstract & The Dragon" (especially check the 'Tip produced "Thank You" and the title track). While we're waiting for the new album that should be out sometime during the first half of 2014, I've put together a little treat for y'all my intelligent readers.
Consisting of 16 classic Q-Tip collaborations, "Tippin' The Scale", features a plethora of some of the Tribe leaders most outstanding cameos. Aside from making sure everything flows together extremely well and features nothing but good music, the compilation is based around three themes - staying clear of Q-Tip solo tracks, songs simultaneously produced by and featuring 'Tip, and showing off the diversity of musical styles the man once named Josh Davis can handle with ease. For that reason I have not only included bangers like the Buckwild produced Beastie Boys joint, the Dilla laced Heavy D track, Statik Selektah's joint with Q-Tip, Term and Styles P, the legendary Mad Skillz/Large Pro/Q-Tip collaboration, and so on. In addition to this we got collabos with DJ Shadow, Chemical Brothers, Lucy Pearl, and legendary jazz/fusion bass god Stanley Clarke. The latter which also happens to be the only song on here co-produced by Kamaal. All in all, this makes for an extremely interesting 65 minutes journey into the rhymes of life courtesy of Mr. Fareed, and as mentioned above to check out his beats to the rhyme of life make sure you also peep "Abstractions of Funk". Without further due, here's another dope The Lost Tapes presentation.. Enjoy and TURN IT UP!!
01. "B.I.G. Dedication @ Lyricist Lounge"
02. "Extra Abstract Skillz" (Ft. Mad Skillz & Large Professor)
03. "Come On Down" (Ft. Big Daddy Kane & Busta Rhymes)
04. "Lightworks" (Ft. Talib Kweli)
05. "All The Way Live" (Ft. Tha Alkaholiks & King Tee)
06. "Get It Together: Buckwild Remix" (Ft. Beastie Boys)
07. "Enuff" (Ft. DJ Shadow & Lateef The Truth Speaker)
08. "Keep It Moving" (Ft. Hi-Tek, Kurupt & Dion)
09. "We Can Make It Better" (Ft. Kanye West, Rhymefest & Talib Kweli)
10. "To The Beat" (Ft. Rahzel)
11. "1, 2 To The Bass" (Ft. Stanley Clarke)
12. "You" (Ft. Lucy Peal & Snoop Doog)
13. "Birds Of A Feaher" (Ft. Black Sheep, Dave & Mike Gee)
14. "The Body Rock" (Ft, Mos Def & Tash)
15. "Stop, Look, Listen" (Ft. Statik Selektah, Q-Tip, Styles P, Termanology)
16. "Galvanize" (Ft. Chemical Brothers)