20 Watts


Editor’s Pick #243: Mos Def’s Flow On Chappelle’s Show by elizabethvogt

Mos Def

PREVIEW: WATCH Mos Def’s Flow On Chappelle’s Show on ebaumsworld

Whether he’s demolishing Kanye in a rap battle or traveling the galaxy with Martin Freeman and Zooey Deschanel, Mos Def is a legend. As one of the most well-known MCs in the entertainment industry, Mos Def has garnered friends such as Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest, Talib Kweli and Dave Chappelle. The recent viewing of a clip of Mos Def on the latter’s show, however, was when Mos Def, for me, became not only one of the most respected MCs but also one of the most talented.

When the episode premiered on Chappelle’s Show in 2003, Mos Def had not yet released his third album “The New Danger”, which includes the song “Close Edge” that Mos presumably “freestyled” on the show. Even if you thought the rap was pre-meditated, it wouldn’t matter. I rewound the two minute segment at least four times in one sitting because I couldn’t stop watching Mos. Even when he’s casually driving around with an incredibly goofy comedian, his flow is absolutely flawless.

–Elizabeth Vogt, Assistant Front of Book Editor

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20 Watts Reviews Blakroc’s Blakroc by jluposello

Blakroc is set to drop from V2 Records on November 27th.

PREVIEW: VISIT Blakroc’s Website
WE GIVE IT: 17/20 Watts

Regardless of any preconceived notions you may have regarding rap-rock, it’s hard to ignore a group with a lineup as stacked as Blakroc.

With the bluesmen of the Black Keys laying the foundation for tracks featuring the likes of Mos Def, Raekwon, Q-Tip, ODB (from the grave, obviously), RZA, Jim Jones and others, the collaboration, headed by hip-hop mogul Damon Dash, was set to turn heads, if nothing else. With the release of the group’s self-titled debut though, Blakroc is sure to shatter any of your dispositions against the genre.

Taking on a clearly Delta Blues inspired sound, the guys from the Black Keys refuse to assume  a “backing band” roll throughout the record, and for good reason. Behind each of the notorious vocalists, the duo groove with a heaviness that would make their Delta predecessors proud. Continue reading

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20 Watts Reviews Q-Tip at Central Park Summerstage, 7/18/09 by zegoldst
July 20, 2009, 8:35 pm
Filed under: Scene Around Town | Tags: , , , , ,
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Q-Tip played a passionate, energetic set at Central Park on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Peter Ruprecht.

If there had been a roof at Central Park’s Summerstage last Saturday,  Q-Tip would have brought it crashing down.

The Queens-bred rapper has always been an innovator when it comes to hip-hop. From his early days with A Tribe Called Quest to his solo career, Q-Tip has demonstrated an unrivaled talent for taking bits and pieces from all different styles, blending them into unusual, envelope-pushing compositions.

But as good as Q-Tip is on record, his live show — a topsy-turvey journey through old and new songs — is even better.  Q-Tip rapped with poise and passion, spitting every line like he felt it. He danced and jumped across the stage with an energy level unparalleled in this day and age.  And his live band added a dimension that isn’t usually heard in a genre so predictably mechanical.

Q-Tip started his set with “Good Thang” from his newest album, The Renaissance. He then launched into the Tribe Called Quest favorite “Oh My God.” The crowd was really feeling it and wasn’t afraid to let it show, jumping  around and rapping every line to their favorite songs.

Q-Tip stopped rapping for a moment in the middle of his set to do a mini-James Brown tribute by dropping to his knees as he DJ ran over and put a cape on him. Q-Tip also gave shout-outs to his good friends J Dilla and Michael Jackson. He even went as far as to open “Move” with The Jack 5’s “Dancing Machine.”

Diddy even showed up for a brief moment to get into the action but quickly retired backstage after jumping around with Q-Tip and the band. The set ended, all too soon, but Q-Tip wasted no time running back onstage for a two-song encore of “Gettin’ Up” and “Life Is Better.” He came into the crowd for a sing-along of his last song, as his band grooved on the beat for about 10 minutes of beautiful soul.

— Zach Goldstein

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Releases of the Week: Q-Tip & Madlib by zegoldst
November 11, 2008, 6:07 am
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: , ,

q-tip

Q-Tip – The Renaissance

Q-Tip, most noted for his work with A Tribe Called Quest, has branched out and created a sound both jazzy and electronic. He has managed to stick to his roots with his unique rhymes and ability to get into your ears. This album truly shows that he is the renaissance and can do everything from producing to rapping.

The production on this album is top notch. Q-Tip’s ability to incorporate an entire slew of instruments only makes his music seem rounder and more definite. The album starts with a synthesized guitar on “Johnny Is Dead”. Q-Tip flows over the guitar with ease and his rhymes act as a bass tone to the needed empty beginning. The beat breaks later into a more reggae soul track. It’s like A Tribe Called Quest on steroids.

Overall, this album has familiar hints of Tribe while Q-Tip is able to craft his own unique sound. Q-Tip also proves that he is a master producer and one of the best lyricists in the game.

Best Track: “Gettin’ Up”

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Indstury News Week 4: Kanye, Q-Tip and Abbey Road by Alex Suskind
November 5, 2008, 10:15 pm
Filed under: Industry News | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Kanye is Krazy Ziegfeld Theater

Seriously though…what are you doing with yourself Kanye? One of the best hip-hop producers on the scene released a third song, Anyway, off his upcoming album 808s & Heartbreak. Its filled with a T-Pain-ish auto tune voice from Kanye and a cheesy 80s R&B riff (the last two songs he released were just Kanye singing through the auto tune machine as well). I admit that Kanye is not the best rapper out there, but at least when he was doing it he had some awesome beats to back him up. Now I feel like I am listening to half-assed music from some Usher wannabe.

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