Latin Conference & Awards

Q-Tip Ushering In Creative 'Renaissance'

Having toured last year with his A Tribe Called Quest mates for the first time since 2000, Q-Tip is back on the solo beat. The Universal Motown artist is gearing up for the spring release of "The Rena

Having toured last year with his A Tribe Called Quest mates for the first time since 2000, Q-Tip is back on the solo beat. The Universal Motown artist is gearing up for the spring release of "The Renaissance."

Q-Tip put together a hip-hop band for project, but, according to the New York-based rapper, it's not a band simply in the sense of everyone just playing an instrument.

"I wanted a hip-hop sonic feel, something pure to the sound of hip-hop with real drums, real emotion and people taking solos," he tells Billboard. "In that sense this record feels like we're moving in a new direction ... something hip-hop should do."

Q-Tip is steering clear of too many guest combinations. ("Sometimes guests don't really warrant an appearance.") But thus far, he has lined up an intriguing threesome: D'Angelo, Common and OutKast's Andre 3000.

Also percolating is the first official release, with bonus tracks, of the 2001 album "Kamaal the Abstract," which was shelved by Arista. Q-Tip now owns the album, and will perform tracks from it when he hits the road on behalf of "The Renaissance."

"You can hear we were having fun without regard for anything," he says of the album. "It's that spirit people picked up on."

As for performing again as part of A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip says the group's tour run last fall felt "good, like old times. We got a great response, and I was surprised to see so many young kids out." Will they do it again? "I don't want to say never," he replies after a pause. "But at this point, I think we're done for now."