Monday, February 7, 2011

Sample Set #164

Five years ago today, James Dewitt Yancey, a.k.a. Jay Dee, a.k.a. J Dilla, celebrated his 32nd birthday by releasing his magnum opus, Donuts. Sadly, his life was cut short just three days later due to complications from TTP and Lupus. There's no telling how the hip hop landscape would be different if Dilla were still around. What we're left with instead is a Tupac-like surplus of stashed away, sometimes incomplete works - many of which Dilla labored over in his last months of life.

Much like the various records that Dilla picked up with his heat-seeking fingertips, the music on Donuts is so wide-ranging, so diverse, I can't help but call the album his magnum opus. Personally, it was on my heavy rotation for about a year and a half! Donuts is an incredible record, filled with beautiful soundscapes ("Time: The Donut of the Heart"; "Stop"; "One Eleven"; "Gobstopper"; "Dilla Says Go"; "Bye"), neck-snapping grooves ("The New"; "Two Can Win"; "Walkinonit"), innovative, electro madness ("Lightworks"; "Da Factory"), hardcore soul ("Mash"; "Geek Down"; "Last Donut of the Night") and everything in between - lest I list off the entire tracklisting! It was a pleasure to compile Dilla's eclectic sample sources, and though I say this every time I release a sample set, this time I really mean it: TURN IT UP!!

Raise it up for Ma and Pop Dukes Yancey (donate via Paypal; more info here)! Respect to DJ House Shoes for keeping Dilla's legacy alive, via live shows and mixtapes. And salute to Stones Throw and Stussy for continued support and this year's Behind the Beat poster (pick it up here):

Happy birthday, Dilla!