Today marks the 6 year anniversary of the great producer J Dilla’s death. Ever since I got in to Dilla’s music (unfortunately posthumously) I have dedicated February 10 to “Only Listen to Dilla Day.” I’m celebrating the innovative music he created and I currently have his album, The Shining (on vinyl here), playing on my turntable as I write this.
J Dilla is hands down my favorite hip-hop producer. He has influenced a generation of producers with his soulful and eclectic sampling choices. The album art shown above is from Dilla’s last album Donuts which is his goodbye to the world expressed through music. Each track is it’s own message meant for the viewer to dissect on their own. Hints are given from some of the track names and some of the samples used. Donuts isn’t Dilla’s best piece of work but it is still his masterpiece. If you haven’t ever heard of J Dilla or Donuts I highly recommend you experience the album knowing that it was made during his last days on Earth, on the most bare minimum recording equipment, as the blood disease, Lupus, took over his body. Listen and understand what this musical genius had to say before he left us.
Here’s the first four tracks off of Donuts. Honestly just hearing these do the album no justice. It has to be listened to as a whole. Get it on vinyl here for the cheapest, if you want .mp3 I’m sure you already know where you can find it: iTunes, emusic, Zune Marketplace (Joebags).
This is Nothing Like This off of Ruff Draft. It is unlike any of his other work and is so experimental. I wish he was still around so he could have explored more into this kind of stuff.
Here’s Won’t Do off of The Shining. That Isley Brothers sample is so good. In the video is actually Illa J, Dilla’s younger brother lip syncing the lyrics.
You can explore more of J Dilla’s work by looking into Slum Village, A Tribe Called Quest, Common, The Roots, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, The Pharcyde, Illa J, and tons of other musicians.
Here’s a link to his discography on Wikipedia. You’ll be a fan soon enough.