This week, our SOTW is Breathe And Stop, the perpetually bangin’ second single from Q-Tip’s 1999 solo debut, Amplified.
It’s no secret that the original disbandment of Tribe left many fans a bit sour, considering that they left on a vastly inferior note to that which they started on. It’s even more bewildering then that, while they were working out the admittedly serviceable The Love Movement, Tip & Dee had shit like this swimming around in their heads.
A far cry from the nostalgic jazz sample that ATCQ made their name on, Breathe And Stop has an instrumental that, for 1999, is dripping in contemporary swagger. The beat, not unlike many of the time, is bouncy and snare-heavy; scientifically proven to have heads bobbin’ like a bucket of apples. The bass is watery and springy, clanging about in the low-end like shadowey slinkies, over which that wicked synth sample rattles off like a dog dripping in funk. Also underrated are the slight moments of eerie psychedelia, early examples of what would become Dilla’s trademark sound, where Tip’s refrain of “give it, bring it, give it, bring it…” have a very shamany feel to ’em — the spell being shaking asses of course.
Speaking of which, Tip’s verses, as well as having a solid dash of quotables, channel the standard “party anthem, booty ass ass booty ass” ethos through the Abstract™ filter, because how many 50 Cent songs have got the words “stiggidy”, “vivrant” or “felonious” in them? Moreover, his flow seems to mimmick the bumpin’ rhythm over the instrumental, none moreso apparent than the genius “breathe and stop” hook — you won’t find many other tracks where the MC and producer are this entwined.
If anything, that sentence is Q-Tip in a nutshell – jack of all trades, master of all.