“Before we get this started let me explain it… It's the Ruff Draft EP… Sound like it's straight from the motherfuckin' cassette.” Before your eyes permanently roll into the back of your head at the sight of yet another posthumous J Dilla release, let’s break it down. A number of different versions of the Ruff Draft EP (or LP, depending on who you ask) have been released with various mixdowns and slightly rearranged tracklists; some versions have vocals on some tracks, some don’t… it’s impossible to keep it straight, even for the most feverish Dilla stan. But this faithful and final edition follows the original EP tracklisting which was released in 2003 on German imprint Mummy Records, recorded after an aborted album for MCA left Dilla feeling jaded and pissed off… a return to form of sorts. This updated 2023 pressing contains the recently-unearthed original mixes (mixed by Dilla) which were thought to be gone forever when Stones Throw reissued the album in 2007 (it was subsequently re-mixed and remastered for that pressing). It has been researched and released with the blessing of Dilla’s family and completely authorized by Egon: Now-Again label boss, creative director of Dilla’s estate and former Stones Throw label manager who also oversaw the 2007 reissue. Egon and mastering engineer Dave Cooley went to meticulous lengths to properly present this album, a process which took roughly an entire year (bonus points for sourcing the original photograph that was used for the sleeve of the ’03 Mummy pressing). Recommended.
- recently rediscovered original mixes of the fan-favorite Ruff Draft EP
- black vinyl pressing
- for DJs that play that real live sh*t
- original release year: 2003
- music label: Pay Jay 2023
reviewed by edward james almost 04/2018