Sunday, February 12, 2006
R.I.P. Jay Dee/J-Dilla
It rings true throughout life: you never know what you've got till it's gone.
When he was coming up doing his thing with the Ummah (him, Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad), I thought it was dope, but my sourness over the emerging jiggy-era bullshit was overshadowing the good stuff he was doing. When ?uestlove was singing (more like shouting, and for good reason) the praises of Slum Village, I took notice. I should've copped that album from the get-go, because the original version of "Fall-N-Love" isn't on the re-released version, I believe, which saddens me. That song is so beautiful.
Why I didn't cop that JayLib Champion Sound album, I don't know, but for some reason, I was hyped for the release of Donuts. I think I know why...like a lot of other heads who stay up-to-date via the web, I saw how bad he was lookin' due to his illness. The thing is, he was still on stage performing and in the studio. Dude knew he had something to accomplish (he was gonna drop 3 albums this year). You can't ignore that.
There are folks out there that lament the current state of hip-hop music. I'm guilty of it, and I know you are, too. We didn't have anything to complain about, though, because Jay Dee never forgot about where it came from: the heart. Everything he did had the "nod factor" that Skillz spoke of and the right amount of grit. Whether it came to dancing or chillin', Dilla had your soundtrack, because all of his beats were made for that.
It's been reported that Dilla's condition came about due to malnutrition, being that he was such a workaholic. All I can say is (and I'm speaking for my fat-ass self, too), take care of yourselves, y'all. Eat right, live right.
Related links: Discography via Stones Throw • Mercury News report • Wikipedia page
EDIT: For the record, my favorite Dilla-produced joint is "Runnin'" from Pharcyde's Labcabincalifornia. I know that album gets a bum rap (no pun intended) for falling short of their first, but Bizarre Ride 2... is a lofty benchmark in rap's history. There's still some noteworthy recordings on Labcabincalifornia, and that's one of 'em.
Favorite solo? "Fuck the Police", hands down. I've never heard hatred sound so sweet. That beat is skull-crackin'.