Q-Tip was hesitant to call himself a hip-hop pioneer during an exclusive freestyle segment in our studio last month, but whether he intended to or not, the rapper was part of history when he released his long-awaited sophomore solo effort, 'The Renaissance,' on the same day Illinois senator Barack Obama became our nation's first African-American president. And whether he'd like to admit it, the Abstract emcee is hip-hop and unarguably an icon.

"I felt like, well, not just me, but a lot of people [have been] talking about the state of hip-hop and music and the artistic credence of it has kind of fell away," the emcee told the BoomBox when discussing the title of his new album. " And the word "renaissance" means a creative re-birth, a creative re-awakening or a re-awakening of the creative soul, rather. So it's just speaking to the hopefulness of that."

The rapper tapped into his "creative soul" and launched into a series of freestyles over classic beats. Tip could've easily recorded an album of freestyle tracks the way he flowed over each track -- with little or no pause -- with ease.

Buy 'The Renaissance' on iTunes.

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