This one slipped under my radar yesterday, but Stussy put together a great lil’ feature honoring the legacy of J Dilla. He would have turned 39 yesterday and, recognizing that, Stussy reached out to some artists to share their favorite tracks from the late great Detroit native. These include Los Angeles producer Nosaj Thing, acclaimed journalist Jeff Weiss, and the don of album art, Jeff Jank.
Peep some of their picks below. The full feature is at Stussy.
A Tribe Called Quest – “Find A Way”
–Lucky to be alive at this time when music like this was on the radio…I feel like I can’t even explain anymore…all of these are classic and self explanatory.
Dilla – “Don’t Cry”
–Next level sample flip.
A Tribe Called Quest – “1nce Again”
–Had an instant connection the first time I heard this and had it on repeat…I was young…in middle school trippin on the artwork.
Jeff Jank – Art Director, Stones Throw Records
J Dilla “Intro” (from Ruff Draft)
–I hate to be a nerd and highlight an spoken-word intro as a favorite, but this is no ordinary rap album intro. For one, it’s a perfectly bullshit-free of telling you that the record is bullshit-free “Real live shit, sound like it’s straight from the ma’fuckin cassette Ruff Draft, let’s do it!” seventeen seconds, not a second more than it needs to be, and it’s onto the music. But looking at it later, appreciated it even more in the context of his career. Here is an artist who was making major label hits, and just after having just been through his own frustrating experience with a major deal fallen apart, it was a statement: I’m free.
Bilal – “Reminisce”
–I remember hearing this for the first time, feeling like I was listening to what would surely come to be known as one of the greatest records of this era. I wasn’t exactly right, but now I think of it as one of the most under-appreciated records of that era.
J Dilla & Guilty Simpson – “Man’s World” (white label)
–A top notch old school flip, the “you know the oldie, now here’s how i do it” type of beat, where so many other producers proceed to ruin the oldie. Guilty Simpson complimented this perfectly with a narrative showing the confidence to be personal and the talent to do it without being sentimental, similar to another classic, Gang Starr’s “The Planet”. One of the many losses of Dilla’s passing is that their album was never completed – the tracks now lost or scattered around with different projects.
Jeff Weiss – Writer/Journalist (LA Times, LA Weekly, Pitchfork)
Pharcyde – “Runnin’”
–A Stan Getz samba sample, the Pharycde at their saddest, and the sense that on his first hit, time was already starting to slip away.
Jaylib – “The Red”
–“Yo what was that you said right there what was that” Just the greatest producers of their generation using the same talons.
J-Dilla – “Time (The Donut of the Heart)”
–What it’s like to eat slowly and savor every bite because you know it will be your last.
Janet Jackson – “Got Till It’s Gone”
–Joni Mitchell never lies.
De La Soul – “Stakes Is High”
–When keeping it real goes right.