By Simon Vozick-Levinson
October 30, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Renaissance

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Where has A Tribe Called Quest’s former leader been since his 1999 solo debut? Oh, that’s right, trapped in major-label purgatory while recording hours upon hours of — unfathomably — unreleased music. But let’s not waste time worrying about that. Instead, just enjoy another opportunity to hear his insightful yet playful rhymes unspool over jazzy sound collages on Renaissance. And there is one pleasant side effect of Q-Tip’s lengthy absence: 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. A

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The Renaissance

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