Review: Busta Rhymes & Q-Tip's "The Abstract & The Dragon"


Editor rating

Golden: 4 Broken: 0

Audience rating

87 votes
72 %

Editor Rating

Matt Aceto Yawn...
Nothing exciting. The rhymes are nice, but overall it seems dry. It’s an overdue curtain call.
Mike De Leon Not For The Kids Or Masses
If you’re all about the new age of hip-hop this may not be for you, but if you were around when these guys were at their prime, you can appreciate a project like this especially with them taking you back with some classics. So much history.
Trevor Smith A good introduction
Q-Tip and Busta are a lethal combination, which is why news of a full project of new material was a very exciting prospect. Instead we got mostly old tracks and skits, which makes this a great introduction, but may leave those familiar disappointed.
Nicolas James Vividly nostalgic.
Although I've embraced the new school in recent years, I'm an old school head at heart. There may be a lack of new tracks here, but the tape's still more cohesive / pleasing to the ear than much of the shit that dropped in 2013. Respect your elders.

Audience Rating

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audience rating
15 MEH

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. 


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