Don't Sleep: Necessary Notables
Independent Album: Kamaal the Abstract
Songs We Can't Stop Playing: "Blue Girl," "Feelin' " and "Damn You're Cool"
Essential Info: A decade later, and Q-Tip finally gets to put his album out. On September 15, Kamaal the Abstract officially sees the light of day.
"In 1999, I just came out of putting out the song 'Vivrant Thing' and 'Breathe and Stop' off the Amplified album. Clive Davis signed me to Arista," Tip told us last week. "I'm a student of the game. I know what Clive did. He put out an album with Miles Davis called Bitches Brew in the '70s. It's considered to be the first fusion album of its kind. I said to Clive, 'I want to do the hip-hop album that's kind of like fusion in that way.' He co-signed it. In 1999, I started putting it together."
Before Tip could get the LP out, Davis got fired from his post. Tip had the option of going with the legendary mogul to J Records, but his old managers, Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen, convinced him to stay at Arista because L.A. Reid was taking the post.
"He heard it, he dug it," Tip said of Reid. "We passed it out to press. L.A. was like, 'I need a single.' So we went in and started working on a single. I went in, worked on some songs. Played it for him. He kinda didn't say anything."
Tip said Reid just sat there smoking a cigar trying to gather his thoughts while the new material was being played. Unable to come to an agreement on a single, Tip left the label. He said he feels somewhat vindicated to see that Andre 3000 became successful years later using a similar idea to Kamaal the Abstract with The Love Below.
"To see the success of that, it made me feel like, 'Damn, I might have been a little too early, but at least I know I wasn't wrong, because dude did it and rocked with it and it was great.' "
The first single from the album is "Barely in Love." "It's an uptempo song basically speaking about two people who ain't got no business falling in love," Tip said. "The power overtakes you, and you do it anyway. The other [single], 'Even If It Is So,' it's a song about somebody I knew, or know. She was really smart and articulate. She danced. She was a stripper. She had a kid, and she was dating this dude. He was stepping out on her. A little shorty from around my way. I would always talk to her and give her words of encouragement. So I wrote the song about her. I produced both songs. Actually, I produced all the songs on the album."
Kamaal the Abstract track list, according to Q-Tip's Camp:
» "Feelin' "
» "Do U Dig U?" (featuring Gary Thomas and Kurt Rosenwinkel)
» "A Million Times"
» "Blue Girl"
» "Barely in Love"
» "Abstractionisms" (featuring Kenny Garrett, a.k.a. Truth)
» "Even If It Is So"
» "Make It Work" (bonus track)
» "Damn You're Cool" (bonus track)
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