Donuts

Artist: J. Dilla/Jay DeeTitle: DonutsRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Orisanmi Burton

Jay Dee aka J Dilla is your favorite producer’s favorite producer. The Detroit native has quietly crafted tracks for several Hip Hop and R&B groups including anyone from A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul and the Pharcyde to Janet Jackson,and Erykah Badu. His distinctively sparse and soulful sounds helped make Slum Village’s Fantastic Vol. 2 an underground favorite. After the masses slept on the trio, Dilla defected to pursue other projects. Since then he’s worked with numerous artists and released a few albums of his own including Welcome 2 Detroit as part of BBE’s Beat Generationseries. Last officially heard after dropping Champion Sound a collaboration with Madlib, Dilla returns with Donuts (Stones Throw) and finds the renowned producer at the height of his creative powers.

The album is every bit as unpolished as it is brilliant. Without a single vocal appearance Dilla exhibits his storied versatility behind the boards. Often noted for his futuristic style, on this outing he opted for a dirtier sound using distorted breakbeats and low fidelity soul samples replete with snaps and crackles. The song transitions are intriguingly abrupt an erratic. In fact with the average track length clocking in at around one minute and thirty seconds it can be said that Donuts resembles a collection of interludes more than a traditional Hip-Hop album. On the one hand it can be frustrating that just as the pace and feel of the track begin to take shape, the song abruptly switches to a seemingly incongruous concoction. On the other hand it most certainly leaves the listener thirsty for more and makes for an incessant playback factor. Sorry MC’s Donuts is not one of Dilla’s coveted beat tapes instead it’s more like a window into a vividly musical imagination.

With blaring sirens and “Dilla, Dilla, Dilla, Beats Beats Beats” reminding you who’s at the helm at every turn it is clear that J is looking to elevate his subterranean status. And after the release of Donuts, more people will certainly begin to take notice of his unique sound. The possibilities are endless. One can’t help but envisage what could happen if the likes of Ghostface or Jadakiss got a hold of one of these pastries. I guess for now we’ll leave that up to the remix DJs and wait to see what Dilla does next.

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