Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes revive the boom bap era with "The Abstract & The Dragon".
Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes' new 28-track mixtape The Abstract & The Dragon plays like a documentary that any serious hip-hop head would enjoy - with its numerous remixes and skits, it's a welcome throwback to the traditional mixtape format. That being said, the tape may fall short for younger rap fans and/or advocates of the new school who prefer the turnt up trap approach to dusty New York classicism. This is an acquired taste, and although many of us were expecting something more original, this nostalgia trip is dope nonetheless.
It goes without saying that hip-hop has changed substantially over the decades. However, although boom bap rap has been severely marginalized, it hasn't quite fizzled out (see Pro Era, Flatbush Zombies, A$AP Mob, The Underachievers, etc). Its roots are simply too strong, and Tip and Bussa did a fine job sticking to them on this tape, putting their vibrant lyricism at the forefront. One track that dazzles in this aspect is "Thank You". The two New York emcees take turns jabbing the beat, trading lightning-fast verses in rapid succession. They effortlessly rhyme line after line, rarely gasping for air. The track was previously released as an early November single, but shows no sign of losing its replay value due to the addictive production and masterful wordplay. The same could be said of the silky smooth "Renaissance Rap Remix".
Despite the raw lyrical content, the production does grow a bit stale by the end of the tape's 28 tracks. Repetitive drum loops get old fast, and there's an almost excessive sonic similarity throughout. If you're looking to turn up, this probably isn't the project for you, but if you simply plan on kicking it and burning one, it'd be ideal accompaniment.
Although The Abstract & The Dragon doesn't add much to their respective legacies, OGs Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes have reminded us that they're two of the best to ever do it - it's a history lesson, if anything. If you find yourself disagreeing with this statement, you probably need to do some homework.
Stream and/or download the tape below, and let us know what y'all think.