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Q-Tip 

The Renaissance (Universal)

Mainstream hip-hop sucked in '08. Overproduction, Auto-Tuned "singing" and overuse of the synthesizer---all signs pointing to a genre in dire need of an enema. Enter The Renaissance, an album that rushes through the system like a sweet and heady colonic. But---contrary to the album title's suggestion ---Q-Tip isn't orchestrating a hip-hop rebirth. He's simply doing what A Tribe Called Quest did best: bringing smooth wordplay and beats so easy-groovy you could fall asleep to them. Coupled with old-school scratchy samples and 'Tip's trademark purr, this has a remarkably cleansing effect. After a year of Lil' Wayne, this might be what the doctor ordered.

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