Some good news for hip hop fans wanting that old thing back (or at least something closer to that old thing than most of what’s out right now).
Q-Tip (of A Tribe Called Quest fame, of course) is working on a new album, entitled The Renaissance, which is due out this fall on Motown/Universal. It’ll be his first album since ’99′s Amplified, not counting the 2 “un-commercial” efforts which Arista never officially released. Q-Tip’s description of his upcoming album as “thought-provoking, dance-friendly, fun and last but not least, hip-hop” certainly reads like a dictionary-definition of the music that Tribe made, and Q-Tip’s first single, “Work It Out”, falls in line with that. From reading Phife Dawg’s interview with XXL a couple months ago, it seems like that long-awaited/long-forgotten Tribe reunion album may still possibly be made perhaps, tentatively speaking. But in the mean time, Q-Tip’s new shit may be the closest we’ll get to that for some time. [And how peculiar is it that Tip's first single and Phife's interview are both named "Work It Out"? Pretty damn peculiar, to answer my own question.]
Also worth noting in the Q-Tip story is that he is scheduled to appear on the upcoming Wu-Tang Clan album, 8 Diagrams, on a track called “Kids With Words”. Some may not know, but Q-Tip has a long history with the Clan. I was fortunate enough to see one of Tribe’s many “reunion” performances, back at a Rock The Bells show in Anaheim in ’04 — sadly, it fell on the same day that Ol’ Dirty died, which was announced on a loud speaker early in the day in between sets. As night fell and Tribe was preparing to start their performance, Q-Tip performed “Brooklyn Zoo” a cappella, then went on to mention how he used to battle Dirty and other Wu members back in their teenage years. [On that note, peep the trailer for the upcoming Wu DVD, Wu-Tang Revealed, here.]
Finally, N.Y. legend Chubb Rock is back in the studio, with plans to release 2 albums in the near future. One will be a solo LP dedicated to the memory of Chubb’s wife, who died of cancer, titled The Grown and Sexy Theory (of everybody who could’ve put out an album with that title, Chubb was the last I expected). The other will be a collaborative effort with underground-known lyricist Wordsworth, titled Bridging The Gap. And, to complete the “six degrees of separation” vibe of this post, Wordsworth, on 2000′s Lyricist Lounge II compilation, worked with none other than Q-Tip, on the track “Makin’ It Blend”. Small world.