by J.J. Love
If you hit up the icebox and there's no jelly, you'll settle for a peanut butter sandwich, right? Yeah, but it sho 'nuff don't jam like PB&J, now does it? Having said that, Q-Tip's new joint, Amplified, finds itself anywhere from dope to lacking, depending on the cut.
But don't sleep; just because a lot of you heads are still waiting for Baby Phife's Return doesn't mean that the loveliness potential for this record is any less — well, maybe just a little.
Overall, though, the Abstract does his thing and 313's own Jay Dee (of Slum Village) comes provocative on the production. On "Let's Ride," he serves up acid jazz guitar over a rugged, James Brown break, as Tip waxes sexual about getting lifted and watching Scarface, butt-naked with his favorite "vivrant thing."
And while, granted, his attempt at a collabo with hard rock-rap outfit Korn is forgettable, the hidden track, "Do It, Be It, See It," is strictly butter. What more could you want than Tip dropping sentimental raps and singing the hook on Jay Dee's sweet minimalism?
"Reference points, too many to wish for / Battling niggas on trains I stayed raw / never let my dream die / I was happy and high going to Ali's in Bed-Stuy / we made our first demo tape / excited like a mutherfucker looking for our first break."
Back on The Low End Theory, Q-tip asked, almost prophetically, "What is a quest if the players ain't willing?" The answer (and his, at the time) is "nada," but who knows, maybe the Abstract is still questing.