Q-Tip is making big plans for the coming year. The sometime A Tribe Called Quest rapper phoned the Music Mix earlier today to fill us in on all the projects he has on the way, including a new solo album recorded in English, Spanish, and French. He’s calling it The Last Zulu, and ideally he hopes to complete three separate versions of the set (one for each language).
“I feel like my fans have been so gracious over the years,” Q-Tip says. “They’re so smart that I want to extend the grace back to them and speak to them in their tongues.” One slight problem: The Abstract Poetic is fluent in neither French nor Spanish. “I’m going to have to brush up!”
He plans to start seriously focusing on The Last Zulu in February, with a tentative release target of late 2011/early 2012. Here’s hoping it doesn’t fall victim to the label shenanigans that delayed 2008’s The Renaissance for so long.
So far Q-Tip has a few rough ideas for songs and a general concept involving vintage rhythms. “It’s going to take us back to the days of when it was breakbeats, when [Grandmaster] Flash and [Afrika] Bambaataa was throwing on them hard beats. It’s going to have a lot of that energy, and it’s going to feel really big and anthemic. It’s going to be unlike anything I’ve done before.”
While he’s best known for his lyrical abilities, Q-Tip is also an accomplished producer, and he’s lined up some exciting work of that kind for 2011. First, he’ll be contributing to an upcoming album by Best New Artist Grammy nominee Esperanza Spalding, whom Q-Tip calls “so cool and so talented.” (A rep for Spalding couldn’t confirm Q-Tip’s involvement.)
He also provided a beat for rap phenom Drake’s much-anticipated follow-up to this summer’s Thank Me Later, though he has yet to hear the finished product of that collaboration. “He told me it’s incredible,” Q-Tip deadpans. “I’m going to take his word for it.”
Last but not least, he is in the midst of producing tracks for alt-pop singer-songwriter Santigold (“Her [next] album is really, really great”) and NYC hip-hop traditionalist Roc Marciano — and he just might be placing a beat on Kanye West and Jay-Z’s secretive Watch the Throne. (More on that soon!)
In the meantime, that’s a pretty cool to-do list, no? Which of Q-Tip’s upcoming projects are you most looking forward to hearing?
(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)
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