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Leon Laing is a new contributor to The Liberator. Please welcome him. Leon is a graduate of West Chester University -- English and Journalism. A writer and photographer with 10 years of professional experience, he has written stories and captured photographs on a myriad of topics including President Barack Obama, Dr. Cornell West, 50 Cent, Ja Rule, Lady Bug (Digable Planets), Young Gunz, Chris Brown, Bobby V., Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Jazmine Sullivan and Raheem DeVaughn.
The [Abstract] Best (check it)
During the 2007 “VH1 Hip Hop Honors,” Lupe Fiasco fumbled with lyrics from “Electric Relaxation” during his tribute performance for A Tribe Called Quest. This misstep became known as Fiascogate throughout the blogosphere. But with help from DJ J. Period’s The [Abstract] Best mixtape, Lupe and others can get reacquainted with hip-hop/jazz pioneers Tribe and its front man Q-Tip.
The [Abstract], a free download, pays homage to Tip by including hits from Tribe and Tip’s solo albums. J. Period shows his turntable wizardry on the hook in “Excursions (tribute remix)” by mixing lines from “Excursions” (“Back in the days when I was a teenager”) with Biggie’s “Things Done Changed” (“Remember back in the days”). The members of De La Soul, who are Tribe’s longtime collaborators/ Native Tongue brethren, interpolate lyrics effortlessly on “Excursions (tribute remix).” Tip’s cousin/collaborator Consequence and newcomer Kid Cudi also shine on “Buggin’ Out (tribute remix).” On this song, the G.O.O.D. Music recruits bring the same chemistry and wordplay like Tip and Phife did in ’91.
Other gems on the mixtape were not remixed by J. Period or covered by another artist. These songs, such as “Saturdays (remix)” and “Scenario (remix),” can only be heard on vinyl or maxi cassette singles, making The [Abstract] a collector’s item. Another highlight of the mixtape is when Tip, also a talented producer, takes you behind the scenes to explain his production process. J. Period also includes the Tip produced-“Give up the Goods” by Mobb Deep on The [Abstract].
The downside of the mixtape? Dres of the Native Tongue collective Black Sheep drops one witty line on “Jazz Pt. 2 (remix)” “With an L in both hands, I’ll be the one that’s double jointed,” Dres says. Aside from that, his verses are humdrum on that remix. On “Youthful (tribute remix),” Talib Kweli’s rapid flow sounds awkward over the laid-back, jazzy production. I prefer Tip’s easygoing and urban-boho delivery on the original. And “Get it Together” offers a mediocre freestyle from Tip and The Beastie Boys, one of the groups appearing on the Midnight Marauders album cover.
Speaking of album art, shout outs to artist Fuse Green for his ill design of The [Abstract]. Overall, The [Abstract], which was two years in the making, provides a catalog of classics that gave birth to Tribe protégés, such as Kanye West and ?uestlove. Both Ye and ?uest speak briefly on the mixtape. Thanks to J. Period, the Native Tongues have officially been reinstated.