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May 11, 2009 | by  | in Music |
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J. Period & Q-Tip The [Abstract] Best (Mixtape)

The [ABSTRACT] Best is a delightful journey through the hip-hop legacy of Q-Tip, the MC/Producer who cut his teeth with the now legendary A Tribe Called Quest and has since earned a reputation as a fine solo artist in his own right. In order to best pay tribute to Q-Tip, DJ J.Period has assembled an ensemble of collaborators that is arguably the finest to have ever been assembled for a hip-hop mixtape. Or, to use the lingo of one K.West, get ready for some “Stadium Status:”

De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Big Daddy Kane, Stevie Wonder, The Beastie Boys, Dee-Lite, Talib Kweli, Kid Kudi, Bob Power, Nas, Mobb Deep, Kanye West and many more.

I was particularly impressed with the way J.Period has seamlessly melded Tribe’s early minimalist jazzy production with the more polished ‘Ummah’ style that was used on their later records, as well as on Q-Tip’s solo work. J.Period drops in the odd sample here, and the occasional bright beat there, but generally speaking his M.O. is to simply keep things flowing steady, and then to get the hell out of the way once the MCs start doing their thing. And rightly so, after all, it’s pretty hard to improve on perfection…

Take J.Period’s ‘Excursions (Tribute Remix)’ for example, where the original Tribe beat is plainly augmented with the sound of B.I.G. saying “Remember back in the days.” This sample emphasises the first two lines of Q-Tip’s classic first verse, which J.Period splices in and out teasingly on his decks:

“Back in the day when I was a teenager / before I had status and before I had a pager.”

Out goes Tip, and in come De La Soul, whose MCs trade off over the original beat in classic Tribe style, spitting out new verses that pay a syllabically stunning tribute to the now instantly recognizable originals. Like all the collaborators, the De La Soul MCs are perfectly on point, but it’s still Q-Tip who steals the show. His mischievously optimistic pep remains one of the most distinctive voices in all of hip-hop, and the 49 (!) tracks on The [ABSTRACT] Best are sequenced in such a way as to be a perfect showcase of his pure talent. Whether you’re hearing a classic verse off ‘Award Tour’ or a high tempo, post-millennial workout like ‘Move’ you just can’t help but feel a sense of intense magnetism towards Tip’s charisma and crystal smooth flow. I think I’m pretty safe in saying that anyone with even the smallest amount of appreciation for hip-hop will enjoy The [ABSTRACT] Best. It’s a truly remarkable work, part documentary, part showcase, part tribute, part best of, and all genius.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    “It’s a truly remarkable work, part documentary, part showcase, part tribute, part best of, and all genius.”
    That’s J Period’s thing in a nutshell, nicely done.

    This mix-tape is great, ‘don’t walk away’ into ‘award tour’ is one of my favourite moments.

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