You might think I’d be the first to cynically smirk at the idea that one cannot be fully in-tune with the music he is listening to, until he finds himself nodding along in the environment in which the sound was actually produced. Well, I’m not.
A few weeks ago, on a return trip from Princeton University, I found myself strolling through the Penn Station neighborhood, bouncing along to the beginning of Amplified, Q-Tip’s dope solo album he co-produced with the late, great J Dilla. “Wait Up” had me carelessly jumping up and down 34th Street, feeling just as live as the City itself. Then “Higher” began and I realized that I was nodding to something new – I had never heard these songs in transition before, meaning I had never actually listened to Amplified as an album. It must have been a 75 degrees and sunny early autumn day – the best the North East has to offer, and nobody seemed to notice. Millions of people were sprinting every which way, running from the clock monster. And there I was, just dancing along with my oversized backpack, envious of nobody.
It was the perfect opportunity to finally hear Amplified in the manner it was meant to be understood. I felt the bounce of the city pervading my veins. I was milking NYC for it’s fresh inspiration – it’s unmatched stimulus, with nowhere to channel it but through my headphones. I moved and grooved passed the construction workers, policemen, hotel clerks, bikers, bankers, and the homeless, listening to songs of 15 years past. I was in this massive, lively city doing something different than everyone in sight. I was Q-Tip. I am Q-Tip.
Now, let me tell you, this project is amazing…I mean, obviously. It is Q-Tip and J Dilla. Have you ever heard of Beats, Rhymes & Life? Just subtract Phife and add a few years. Anyways, “N.T.” did things to my body that no lady could ever dream of doing unless she’s Erykah Badu. Just listen and you’ll understand. But let me tell you: it won’t be the same sitting at your dining room table as prancing around the Big Apple.
Busta gets me hyped!