Listening to a J. Dilla beat is like a homed cooked meal – guaranteed satisfaction. The late producers influence on Kanye West, 9th Wonder and the ever developing Neo-Soul sub-genre in Hip-Hop, has led to a large cult following even after his untimely passing. These dedication projects come full circle on Dilla-Gence (Mick Boogie); a tribute mixtape of unreleased J. Dilla beats organized by Busta Rhymes and DJ Mick Boogie. The quality found here is top notch and as it displays Dillas signature sound as he never left us.
Just like a flawless symphony conductor, J. Dilla is the catalyst of this project with his standout production. The beat on Baggage Handlers is soulful yet it maintains its street-corner appeal with a Scarface drop and a strong guest appearance from Raekwon. The prominent guitar riff makes Rae feel comfortable in his own skin as it will have heads reminiscing back to 95 when Chef opens up with lines like Return of the kitchen kid with the axe.
On the flipside, Dilla displays his versatility on Psycho with the use of prominent violins. Featuring lyrical technicians Cassidy and Papoose, the track is one of the tapes better songs. The two lift the lyrical bar for other guest artists involved with Cassidy spitting lines like I lock a strip and chop a brick like Im Mr. Miyagi / But this aint Karate/ I been sick since I pissed in a potty. Flipmodes former first Lady Rah Digga also goes in with a clear passion on Just Another Day At The Range.” Jay-Dee laces the track with vibrant horns that would easily make Bleek Gilliam from Mo Betta Blues jealous.
Busta stamps his personal touch with memories on the late great that serve as intermissions in between selections. Though he thoroughly shines on Code Of The Streets, hes more valuable with his intimate recollections of the fallen beatsmith. Words From Ma Dukes additionally brings everything closer to home with Dillas proud mother chiming in on her son on a voicemail.
The appeal here lies within Dillas lust for breaks as his ear for samples is only matched by a few. Dilla-Gence proves his work was accepted but not quite yet universal; making the concept even more appealing. The listener will feel part of an in-crowd that can recognize beauty at first glance before the masses decide to open up their eyes.