In one of the biggest stealth moves ever, Jay Dee spent the last decade rising from underground prodigy to deified musical martyr, quietly redefining the sound of hip-hop along the way. The Shining was scheduled as the follow-up to the overlooked at the time/classic in retrospect Welcome 2 Detroit, but as the truncated timing (36 minutes) suggests, BBE and executive producer Karriem Riggins had to piece the project together when Yahweh decided He needed some beats and called Dilla up to the big MPC in the sky. In spite of the circumstances, Riggins has done a good job of making the finished product sound like a coherent album. The Common/D'Angelo collab "So Far To Go" is about as beautiful a Jay Dee beat as I've heard, definitely some keep-the-instro-on-repeat-and-stare-at-the-clouds shit. The ladies will also love "Dime Piece," which reuses an old Dwele vocal (from "Angel," I think), but don't get worried, in classic Dilla style, there's some nasty gully grooves to balance the pretty stuff out. Check "Jungle Love" where he swings chains--yes, chains--for the hi-hat, or the brutal instrumental "Body Movin'." Longtime homey Black Thought provides lyrical heat on another crackling beat ("Love Movin'") and Pharoahe Monch finally gets a chance to rip over a Dilla treat on "Love Jones." More beats from the vaults will inevitably be released in years to come, but The Shining is a fitting final chapter to the quiet legend's life.
- music label: BBE / 2006
reviewed by monk 08/2006