It's been nearly a decade since his last released album (Amplified) but it's not as if Q-Tip hasn't been working since. The former A Tribe Called Quest MC at one time was bouncing between five labels in six years, even finalizing an album (Kamaal the Abstract, 2002) that his label ended up shelving at the last minute, deeming it too uncommercial. All told, he's recorded three albums during this time that never saw the light of day, but that all finally changes with the release of The Renaissance on Election Day, intentionally tying the album to the hope of a new beginning for both America and QT.
Q-Tip is scheduled to perform the lead single, "Gettin' Up," on Letterman Thursday. The song features production from longtime friend and colleague, the late J Dilla, who passed on nearly three years ago. QT references Dilla several times on the album, but it's the glory days of A Tribe Called Quest that are the big takeaway here. Not just in terms of QT's impeccable timing in rhyme, but also the jazz collages that made an album like Midnight Marauders a hip-hop classic.
Rewinding a bit to Monday, Jenny Lewis appears on Letterman, bringing on her more famous sidekick Elvis Costello, who sings on Lewis' "Carpetbaggers." It's nice to see Costello palling around with alt country ladies (he also duets on Lucinda Williams' "Jailhouse Tears") but on this song he almost seems an afterthought. Still, that tandem could be singing "We Built This City" and I'd watch.
Meanwhile, TV on the Radio continues showcasing 2008's album of the year, this time playing Leno on Friday. Their performance of "Dancing Choose" last month on Letterman took place on a fire escape (video), which was probably necessary because they were en fuego. Jay Leno might want to take some fire safety precautions in the coming days.
Playlist: Picks for the week
Monday, November 3
Tuesday, November 4
Wednesday, November 5
Thursday, November 6
Friday, November 7
Saturday, November 8