November 11, 2013

Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes

Harold Stallworth would like to thank his connect.

If I hadn’t already submitted my fall mixtape to upper management, I’d probably reserve my newfound obsession with go-go bands for the next round of seasonal compilations and offer up a collaborative history of Busta Rhymes and Q-Tip instead. “Thank You,” the lead single from Extinction Level Event 2—Busta’s last-ditch effort to overhaul an album that was never truly canonized in the first place—is impressive enough to prompt any red-blooded Reagan baby to dig up and revisit the dozen-odd tracks they’ve shared in twice as many years.

I’d like to say the sum is greater than it’s parts, but that would be unfair to Q-Tip. His last LP, The Renaissance, nearly a half-decade in incubation, was a phenomenal solo endeavor. The album’s charm hinged largely on Kamal’s ability to write and produce grown-man rap that invites us to flood the dance floor. This time around, he’s shared that age-appropriate mojo with his 41-year-old cohort, who’s developed a rather embarrassing reputation for being the proverbial old man in the club. Granted, Busta eventually resorts to blurting out infantile gibberish here as well, but overall, it feels significantly less desperate than what we’ve come to expect at this stage of his career.

Their expression of gratitude is set to Alicia Myers’ “I Want To Thank You,” which has been sampled by everyone from The LOX to E-40 to Fu-Schnickens. But unlike so many of the prior stabs at repurposing Myers’ biggest hit, “Thank You” doesn’t strive to be inspirational nor acknowledging. It’s intended to jam in spite of their dense, auctioneering flows. Perhaps it’s more suitable for the Elks Lodge than Romper Room, but there’s no shame in occasionally catering to adults.

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