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Q-Tip

When I last wrote a Quizzlet 2 weeks ago, I mentioned that the site, www.FridaysFeast.com, from which I used to mine the questions, hadn’t been updated in 4 months. I emailed the woman who owns the site and offered to take it over myself. I received no reply, and when I checked a few minutes ago found that it’s been taken down completely.

I sorta feel like the ‘movie bad guy’ whose object of affection jumps off a cliff rather than become his girlfriend. I can’t think of any specific cinematic examples, but I know they exist. A little help, people? Regardless, looks like I’ll have to write them again myself this week. As always, please feel free to contribute your own answers in the comments!

Appetizer: What is your favorite John Belushi SNL skit?
I know a lot about the history of SNL, and I enjoy talking about it so perhaps I’ll make this a regular Quizzlet question. I knew the answer to this before I wrote the question so I was relieved to actually find this clip online – although I’m not able to embed it. Click the image to watch it.

belushi-donuts
“Little Chocolate Donuts have been on my training table since I was a kid.”

My favorite element is definitely the lit cigarette. And the facial expressions are unmistakably Belushi. All told, fitness was a very different pursuit in the late 1970s. My friend Doug Triconi first turned me on to this skit by talking about and reinacting it a million times before I ever actually managed to catch it on a re-run. I was happy to discover recently that it’s featured on the SNL Best of John BelushiDVD.

Soup: What does Thanksgiving mean to you?
Obviously it’s a time to reflect on your life and appreciate the people in it. I like to also physically enact this by getting myself to Concord, Massachusetts and hanging out with all my old high school friends once a year. I skipped it in ’07 and really, really missed being there – So much that I wrote about it and created a Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past photo gallery to share with everyone I wouldn’t be seeing. So, fully repentant, on Sunday I’m throwing wee Shep in the Charger and heading on down to MA for a week. Mon/Tues/Wed I’ll be in the office. Tuesday night Janet is hosting a birthday party for our dogs (also siblings) Rhubarb and Shepherd. It’s a family-friendly party that will allow me to spend some time with all my little North End buddies like Griffin, Maya, Bella and Lorenzo – and they’ll finally get to meet the pups they have heard so much about and been giving me drawings of for the past year. I have a bunch of them on the bulletin board over my desk right now.

Wednesday night Matt is having a bash at his house (which also happens to be right beside the high school) that we’ve used Facebook to invite 3 grades of early 90s CCHS students to. It’s going to be awesome. Thursday morning we’ll drive to Bedford for the big football game, our hands wrapped tightly around Dunkin’ Donuts cups spiked with Kahlua. Then I’ll eat with Jim and his family and likely end up back at Matt’s for more silliness in the evening. Maybe Papa Razzi on route 2. Maybe the Makaha – the suspense is killing me. Friday I have tickets to the noon Bruins game and will be hitting the Garden with Detroit Velvet Smooth, The Hammer, John David, J-Mac, Greg and a host of other old pals. Friday night DVS and his lovely (and likely hesitant) wife are hosting a gathering at their pad in West Acton. Saturday is earmarked for movies, New London Style grinders and recovery. Sunday I’ll be returning home after a week of professional productivity and sentimental sousey socializing. Jealous much? My liver isn’t.

Salad: Who is your favorite band of the moment?
We all have our all-time favorite bands well established, but my favorite group of the moment is definitely De La Soul. My previously-declared love for Q-Tip’s The Renaissance has encouraged me to have one of my own in regards to hip-hop. The two albums I’ve been spinning all week are De La Soul is Dead and Buhloone Mind State, the latter is gravely underappreciated and thoroughly excellent. Here is my favorite track off the 1994 album, Breakadawn.


“Yo, I don’t know who’s been on this mic but this thing smell awful here.” – ‘Stone Age’ from Buhloone Mind State

Main Course: Feel any better about Obama?
Not really. As I have stuck my neck out and said (it’s not a popular opinion within my social sphere) I am worried about national defense under Barry’s administration – but I plan to give him an ample chance to prove himself before I start whinging about it like every other unqualified hack in the blogosphere did about Bush for nearly a decade. I am showing remarked restraint thus far.

Dessert: What is your favorite vintage arcade game and why?
The first game I really obsessed about and would beg my father to drive me into Ottawa every weekend to play was the incredibly difficult (even today) Spy Hunter. Maybe it was my love of all things Bond in 1984 that caused me to dig it so much, but I did. In spite of the fact that once you switched into the high gear setting, your car flew up the road so quickly that – at 10 years of age – you had a better chance of remembering PI to the 300th decimal point.

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Q-Tip's - The RenaissanceQ-Tip has one of the most undeniably distinctive voices in hip hop. That’s been mighty helpful recently because I was sure he’d been abducted by aliens shortly after the release of the wholly under appreciated “Amplified” and its killer single, “Vivrant Thing“, back in 1999. The first time I listened to his brand new album “The Renaissance”, and first release in 8 years, my response was a resounding “meh”. During a long drive yesterday I listened to the record twice more and am now subsequently hooked. I rarely end up liking albums that really impress me the first time I listen to them. And let me tell you, kids – I’m already across the street and down the road from ‘impressed’. This record isn’t a Renaissance for rap – it may end up being its savior. Sufficiently over dramatic enough for you? I’ll explain.

A Tribe Called Quest was a group of monumental importance to music in general (I am deadly serious) and probably my very favorite crew from what many now refer to as the Golden Age of rap. This era isn’t to be confused with “Old School” which predates it by a good 3-5 years. No, the Golden Age is generally considered to be from 1990-95 and includes such acts as De La Soul, Biggie, Gang Starr, Leaders of the New School, Craig Mack, Black Moon and other personal favorites of mine. I’m glad timing was on my side and that I was the age I was in the midst of it all. Fore t’was a special time in the history of hip hop music – before bitches and bling completely took over the ‘subject matter’. Before previously lost, rich and creative samples found by people like Pete Rock and Diamond D during hours spent digging through ancient record crates were replaced by modern rap production that sounds like a challenged 4-year-old banging away on a rundown Yamaha Port-a-Sound.

Q-Tip “Gettin’ Up”

“Gettin’ Up” takes an old early 1970s Black Ivory single, makes it gleam with modern sheen and lets Tip loose on the kind of love jones you’d expect from a man with 15 years’ worth of relationship experience and maturation since “Electric Relaxation”.Pitchfork

I could feature the whole of The Renaissance on Wadio today – it’s comprehensively the best rap long play to rear its head in a very, very long time. I’m always asking myself: does rap suck now or am I just old? I’ll never know the real answer (Yes I will. I’m 35 as opposed to 19), but am still so delighted it has come down the pike when it did. I’d given up on the musical genre I once loved.

The name (The Renaissance for anyone not paying attention) is perfectly appropriate as upon listening one almost feels as though they’re looking back through a musical time warp, complete with quick glimpses of Arsenio and the Philly Blunt logo. Harkening back to an age where, you know, rap wasn’t… embarrassingly awful. Yet all the while Q-Tip stays relevant talking about Blackberrys, web pages and email – via the sort of smooth verbal gymnastics only he can effectively vocalize. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but you’ll see what I’m getting at the first time you hear “Dance on Glass”. More on that in a second.

My favorite song is the awesome “Won’t Trade which you can click to download or listen to below. It features amazing delivery, sharp lyrics and a beat which samples real drums (gasp!) while lifting a catchy snippet from “You Made A Believer Out Of Me” by Ruby Andrews.

Q-Tip’s “Won’t Trade”. Welcome back sir!

Tip’s beyond-welcome return to form doesn’t end there. “Dance On Glass” sees him rapping acapella for a full minute before a snare drum finally busts in and reminds you that you were listening to… acapella. That’s the power of the man’s voice and delivery which is as strong on The Renaissance as it ever was rapping alongside Phife Dawg – who recently had a kidney transplant and whom I wish all the luck in the world. “Move” features two completely different sounding halves which are both amazing nods back in the direction of the golden age, even borrowing Black Sheep’s “here we come yo, here we come” chant from 1991’s The Choice is Yours. Come to think of it, I haven’t once skipped over any of the record’s 12 tracks. It’s a solid piece of work to put it mildly.

Little Malik Taylor and Jonathan Davis have brought me a lot of joy over the years and I am thrilled that Q-Tip has pulled off such a stunning comeback LP. Do yourself a favor and I really mean that. If you’ve ever misplaced your wallet in El Segundo, gotten lost during an award tour or simply walked down Linden Boulevard – Buy “The Renaissance” on CD or download the MP3 version – right frigging immediately now.

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