Album Review | Q-Tip – Amplified

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This album was released on November 30th in 1999. This was the first solo album from Q-Tip. He didn’t release another album with A Tribe Called Quest until last year. I effin’ loved every album from A Tribe Called Quest, so I’m pretty certain I’m gonna really enjoy this one as well. I’ve heard two songs from this project, and I know I really loved one of them, but I can’t really remember much about the other one. I don’t think I liked it very much to be honest. Anyway, every song is produced by J Dilla & Q-Tip, except where noted.

Track 1: Wait Up

The intro of this song was kinda strange, and it lasted a little too long. Once the song actually starts for real the beat is dope tho. This first verse from Q-Tip is awesome. “We on a brand new page; millennium days / Desperation on the streets, gotta find a new way / Keep the mics in choke holds, the saga unfolds / Machiavellian approaches executed by the coach.” The hook is dope af too. Wow. This is great. The second verse was really nice. This is a really fun track. It’s like the kinda shit I could see Busta rapping on. I definitely fuck with this shit. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 2: Higher

Oh shit. This beat is dope af. Q-Tip’s flow is smooth as hell on this first verse. The hook kinda sucks, but it serves it’s purpose I guess. It’s definitely not bad enough to ruin the song. The second verse was really good, but the way he ended it was kinda strange. He just kinda started mumbling, and then he was literally speaking gibberish… I’m not really sure what that was about. I fuck with this song tho. It definitely isn’t as enjoyable as the previous track, but it’s still pretty good. I fuck with this song. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 3: Breathe & Stop

Breathe & Stop

This beat is alright. The first verse was cool. The hook is nothing special. Huh… This is uh… This is an interesting choice for a single. It’s pretty goddamn boring. The beat is really underwhelming compared the the previous two tracks. Nothing about the track stands out at all so far. The first verse had a couple cool lines, but his flow wasn’t really anything special. The subject matter isn’t really any different from that of any other song he’s made. It just feels like something’s missing from this track. It’s just super average. The way the production switched up for the bridge was pretty cool, but aside from that this is one of the most lackluster singles I’ve ever heard from Q-Tip. 3/5

Track 4: Moving With U

This beat is pretty good. Q-Tip’s goin’ in about some BAD ass chick. The content doesn’t really interest me, but he’s doing a decent job with the topic I guess. “Your thing is jigglin’ and causin’ a stir / Let’s do it real rough until life is a blur.” The hook’s not really doin’ anything for me. This track is censored for some reason. I’m not sure why. None of the other tracks have been censored. Meh… This song isn’t bad, but it’s just not for me to be honest. He’s basically just saying “I wanna eff you.” The only thing I liked about this track was the production. Nothing about it is really bad tho. Just not my cup of tea. It’s decent. 3/5

Track 5: Let’s Ride

Let's Ride

Oh fuck… This beat is fucking awesome. Q-Tip’s going in about his car. Well, it’s not just about his car. It’s a love song, but it revolves around his car. “When we done, I start it up again / And ride round with you ’cause you my special friend.” Awww. The hook’s cool. The melody and delivery kinda sounds like something Kendrick would do, except Q-Tip’s singing voice isn’t as good as Kendrick’s. The second verse was pretty good. Alright, this is the kinda shit I can get behind. The beat is great, the hook is cool, and it’s dope lyrically. None of his lines about sex were super vulgar or disturbing. Pretty much every time he was referring to sex, he did it in a subtle, clever way. I definitely fuck with this track. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 6: Things We Do

This beat is cool. I’m not feelin’ this hook. He’s not a very good singer. It lasts way too fuckin’ long too. There’s only one verse in this song, but it’s really hard. This is definitely one of the most lyrically aggressive verses I’ve heard from Q-Tip. That’s not really saying much, but still… It’s dope. “The illest regiment is what I represent / Get us mad you gonna see the way gorillas went / Mack time; I need a dime and at least a friend / I fear Allah; he has no start and he has no end.” I’d probably really like this track if the hook was better. This song isn’t bad at all, but the hook kinda ruined it for me. I’m not gonna be coming back to this. It’s decent tho. 3/5

Track 7: All In Feat. Meda Leacock

What the fuck… He’s stuffing his face with food while talking on the intro. It sounds gross. Okay, the song’s actually starting now. This beat is pretty cool. The first verse was fine. Just like with most of the other tracks, there’s not really much to this track lyrically. The hook is cool. Meda Leacock’s feature was really unnecessary. She literally just repeats the words “all in” on the hook. She doesn’t even sing. She just says it. I really don’t know how to feel about this song. I really WANT to like it because it isn’t bad at all. Nothing about this is wack. It’s just not that good. It has no replay value for me. It’s definitely not bad tho. 3/5

Track 8: Go Hard

This beat is cool. Alright, here we go. This is really dope. His flow is great on this first verse. “The North, South, and East, and the West / Wanna see which crew can do it the best.” The hook is nothing special. Basically he’s just telling everyone that they should always try their hardest with whatever they’re doing. It’s not the most original content, but I’d rather hear this than songs about thiccness. This is one of the better songs sonically too. His flow was awesome on this track. I fuck with this song. This is dope. 4/5

Track 9: Do It Feat. Jessica Rivera (Prod. DJ Scratch)

This beat is alright I guess. It sounds like it’s got a Latin influence. It’s not really bad, but… Well, if I was a rapper I wouldn’t use this beat. Uh… Okay… Yeah… This is the worst track on the album so far. This is the first song on the album that I actually dislike. The other songs weren’t bad, but this shit really is wack to me. I’m not a fan of that weird vocal effect that Q-Tip’s using throughout the entire song, and the shit he’s rapping about isn’t interesting at all. This is basically just him doing a generic party song. The more I listen to this beat the less I like it. Okay, fuck what I said earlier. This beat is fucking wack. This hook is fucking terrible too. Nah. I can’t fuck with this shit. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 10: Vivrant Thing

Vivrant Thing

I know I’ve heard this song already before, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t think it was very good, so this might not end very well. It was this album’s lead single tho, and as far as I know it was very successful. This beat is cool. Huh. I’m actually enjoying this. He’s rapping about this girl, and he made up this slang term, “vivrant,” which is supposed to be a hybrid of “vibrant” and “vivacious.” Honestly, that’s pretty fuckin’ lame in my opinion, but I’m still enjoying this track. His flow is nice. I even like the hook. Man, this is a lot better than I remember it being. The version I heard was a remix with Busta Rhymes & Missy Elliott tho, so maybe that had something to do with it. Anyway, I fuck with this song. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 11: N.T. Feat. Busta Rhymes (Prod. DJ Scratch)

I’ve heard this song before too. It’s fucking awesome. I love this beat so much. DJ Scratch fuckin’ DID that shit, boi. I love it. Lyrically, this is definitely the most aggressive track so far. Q-Tip’s flow is fuckin’ great on this first verse. “It’s rap time, for you, that means nap time / Reachin’ for my joint? What the fuck? I’ma clap mine / Singin songs of sixpence, you sit tensed / Surprised your ass at the end like The Sixth Sense. He fuckin’ murdered this shit. “Spittin’ sharp blades laced with bleach / You wanna play around, kid? I’m not a walk at the beach / A stroll in the park, or your fuckin’ playground / Put on your headphones, tell me how grenades sound.” God that line is so fuckin’ dope. Lmao. It kinda sucks that Busta’s only on the hook, but the verses we got from Q-Tip are honestly his best on the whole album so far, so I still love this track. That line in the hook from Busta where he says “let your pussy drip on the dance floor” was very unnecessary tho… It’s almost strange how much better this song is than everything else on the album so far. I definitely fuck with this track. This shit is dope af. And I love that skit at the end where Busta gets SO fuckin’ angry and storms out the studio and Tip is just laughing his ass off. That was really entertaining. 5/5

Track 12: End Of Time Feat. Korn

………………………………FUCKING KORN? ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME? LMAOOO. Jesus Christ… Alright, let’s do this shit. Smh. Okay, it’s starting now. Okay, this beat is actually pretty fuckin’ nice. I was expecting to hear Nu Metal, but this isn’t too far off from the rest of the production on this album. Jonathan Davis’ weird moaning in the background sounds surprisingly cool. The first verse was dope. Oh God… This hook… Nah. Nah, son. It’s better than I would’ve predicted, but still. It’s not good. OH GOD. Now Jonathan Davis is singing… Jesus Christ… Lmao. Why the fuck does he sing like that? Does he think that sounds good? What the hell is he doing? This sounds like a fucking joke. Smh. That was fucking terrible lmao. Okay… No más. I’m done with this shit. This is wack. The beat was kinda cool, and Q-Tip did his thing, but nah. Once fucking Korn took over this shit fell apart. I’m not fuckin’ with this shit. 2/5

Track 13: Do It, See It, Be It

This song a hidden track on the original release of this album. Oh fuck. This beat is dope af. Goddamn. This shit is smooth as fuck. Wow. This might actually be my favorite beat on the whole album. It’s between this and N.T. and also maybe Let’s Ride. Damn… Shit. Okay, y’all. I think this might be my favorite song. He’s actually rhyming about something different for once. First he was rapping about his childhood, and then that transitioned into how he got into rapping. This hook is nice. I don’t know for sure if this is my favorite track actually. I’ll have to listen to N.T. again to be sure. The second verse was awesome. “I found Allah in the process / An angel appeared with sneaky ways, and gave me stress / Now what am I to do? / My album’s platinum, but I’m still feelin’ blue.” It’s nice to get some real emotion from Q-Tip rather than him just having fun all the time and trying to get people to dance. I definitely fuck with this track. This shit is dope af. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is pretty good. It’s not nearly as good as I thought it would be, and it’s DEFINITELY not on the same level as any of A Tribe Called Quest’s albums, but I still think it’s worth checking out. Just don’t expect to be blown away. I was actually kinda surprised by how dull the production was. Well, that’s not true. The production isn’t dull. It’s just not nearly as great as I was expecting it to be. I guess I never realized how much Ali Shaheed Muhammad contributed to The Ummah’s work. There weren’t a lot of beats on here that really blew me away, and one of the few that did wasn’t even produced by Q-Tip & Dilla. To be honest, a lot of the content on this album was pretty goddamn boring too. I kinda mentioned this during the final song, but most of this album is just Q-Tip being really happy and trying to get people to dance. That’s cool I guess, but I personally don’t want a full album of that. I’m not the type of person who goes to parties or strip clubs. Or ANY clubs. Party music doesn’t really do much for me. So lackluster production combined with uninteresting content kinda made this album a little stale, but I still enjoyed it as a whole. I just don’t like it quite as much as I wish I did. I’m glad I listened to it tho. It’s a good album. There’s enough good material here to make it worth checking out. This album is dope.

Favorite Song: N.T.

Least Favorite Song: Do It

Verdict:

73%

70-79

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One comment

  1. I haven’t listened to this project…..in about 4-5 years and remember it being quite decent out of all the solo album’s.

    With that in mind, you can tell every man was trying to find their footing after the group split. Such is the case here, mainly because the stuff Tip said had already been said just with different beats, plus nobody in 1999 really wanted to hear a solo album from Tribe members, instead people wanted Jay and Em, DMX and Ja Rule the mainstream heavyweights ruling the radio back then.

    Though I’m quite fond of this project, it’s not bad by any stretch, it’s just not a good debut album. I really dug End Of Time it’s really solid if you​ listen to the lyrics and has a grim vibe to it a la to the stuff on Beats, Rhyme & Life, which I dig. I give this joint a 8.0/10

    Liked by 1 person

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