The Renaissance


Universal acclaim - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. His music now seems as fresh and necessary an alternative to rap's mainstream as it did when Tribe first arrived. Welcome back, old friend.
  2. The Renaissance is arguably, the best hip-hop album of the year.
  3. His long-awaited return on The Renaissance is no disappointment, offering more of the same understated, aqueous grooves and fluid rapping that the Abstract Poetic has built his peerless career on.
  4. Though he gripes that fans are always bringing up Tribe, The Renaissance is a showcase for Q-Tip's cool and empathetic consciousness.
  5. Whilst not quite a true Renaissance for hip hop, it certainly is a rebirth for Q-Tip--and fans of A Tribe Called Quest will dine out on this album for the next nine years too.
  6. It's hard to complain too much about such a brighter-day kind of record, and it feels like the perfect album at the perfect time-- released on Election Day, appropriately enough, as the ideal soundtrack for Barack Obama winning the presidency.
  7. The Renaissance is the logical extension of this exploratory work, coupled with Q-Tip’s need to, once and for all, step out from behind Tribe’s long, dominant shadow, and in many respects (if not all), it succeeds wildly in both dimensions.
  8. 80
    Up-tempo and uplifting, this largely self-produced record blurs distinctions between accessibility and avant-gardism.
  9. Cloaking its eclecticism with a homogenising sheen, the album's frequent changes of mood and direction dazzle.
  10. The disc is an affirmation that life, and hip-hop, can indeed get better.
  11. At the end of an extraordinary year in America, hip hop is witnessing the start of its lost icon's second term.
  12. So the cookie-cutter joints are tossed out the window for The Renaissance as Q-Tip attempts to show that he can creatively flow over whatever unusual progression or production twist comes along with each successive track.
  13. After myriad delays and label woes, it's clear the interminable wait for new material was worth it.
  14. Mojo
    His reliably nerdular delivery and thoughtful lyrics still make it sound box-fresh compared to the generic macho fare that still dominates mainstream hip hop. [Dec 2008, p.100]
  15. The Renaissance Q-Tip reaffirms his stature as one of the hip-hop greats by waxing unassuming, cool-headed and wise.
  16. Q Magazine
    In between there's much else to savour, from smooth slow jams to Won't Trade's terrific blast of rap meets '60s soul. [Jan 2009, p.123]
  17. The Renaissance functions as a representation that he’s never needed to say much of anything to be immensely enjoyable.
  18. It's an appropriately elegiac, bittersweet conclusion to a solid though less-than-transcendent comeback album from a hip-hop icon who has survived to make good music, even if he hasn't exactly thrived.
  19. Some of this works wickedly--'Believe,' the D’Angelo track, is a keeper, as is 'Gettin’ Up,' a charismatic come-on--but there are just as many small missteps.
  20. 70
    In a sentence, Q-Tip’s long-awaited release looks to get people to thinking, loving, and dancing, as usual.
  21. 70
    The Renaissance hints at newness, but its cushy boom-bap grooves, airy soulfulness and rhymes about struggle and redemption recall rap’s Edenic “golden age.”
  22. Q-Tip demonstrates his unique talent in this sleek, soulful, silky-smooth hip-hop album.
  23. Q-Tip's flow on his new disc remains mellow, freewheeling, and vaguely inspirational. But it doesn't feel relevant.
  24. Uncut
    The Renaissance offers a compromise between the rootsy East Coast rap he helped to define and the LP you imagine the label wanted. [Jan 2008, p.111]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 56 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 18
  3. Negative: 1 out of 18
  1. ClaireF
    Mar 31, 2009
    One of the best albums I have bought in years...immense!
  2. TomaD
    Jul 9, 2009
    One of the best Hip-Hop albums I've heard in ages! Easily one of the best of the 2000's decade. Keep it up Q-Man!
  3. steveC
    Jan 16, 2009
    After the massive disappointment of Amplified nearly 10 years ago ('Breathe & Stop' only sounded good on the much-played Michael After the massive disappointment of Amplified nearly 10 years ago ('Breathe & Stop' only sounded good on the much-played Michael Jackson Don't stop till you get enough mash-up bootleg) - this is so worth the wait. A layered, yet accessible piece which breathes life into hip-hop. Stand out tracks: Move, You (a masterpiece), Johnny is Dead, Gettin up, Life is Better. You have to buy this. Full Review »