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*** Q-TIP "Amplified" Arista

November 28, 1999|SOREN BAKER

The most interesting track on the first solo album from the former frontman from A Tribe Called Quest is "Do It, See It, Be It," a narrative that summarizes the key points from his 11-year recording career, including the internal strife that plagued the trio even as it ascended to critical and commercial heights few rap groups have enjoyed.

It's the type of introspective song that Q-Tip would not have been able to do while in Tribe, and it's typical of the songs in this collection, which is due Tuesday. Only a few tracks, such as the drum-driven "Breathe & Stop," would have fit into Tribe's musical mission.

Q-Tip's poppish, previously released "Vivrant Thing" would have been painfully out of place among the Tribe's earlier, jazz-influenced rhymes and rhythms, but it finds a comfortable spot on "Amplified." Another example of his creative growth is "End of Time," featuring rap-rockers Korn.

Plenty of lighthearted raps emerge elsewhere on the album, whose sound features sharp percussion and quirky sampling. The various musical approaches make "Amplified" an eclectic and enjoyable hip-hop experience.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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