Stop any chud on the street wearing a "J DILLA SAVED MY LIFE" tee and ask them where they rank this album; I bet it's toward the bottom, if not dead last. Known at the time only as a producer, MAYBE one third of Slum Village, BBE rolled the dice in 2001 and offered the kid a deal to make a solo album. J Dilla (known then primarily as Jay Dee) took the opportunity to show the world the raw Detroit lifestyle he and his homies (Frank N Dank, Phat Kat, Dwele, Elzhi, Ta'Raach, all featured) were accustomed to, paranoid that all his work with Questlove and The Soulquarians was turning him soft. Just peep the cover (as well as the similarly-essential Welcome 2 Detroit Instrumentals) to get a sense of how they were getting down in Conant Gardens: strip clubs, dice games, lots of weed smoke. In addition to being the album with the most liberal use of Jay Dee's criminally underutilized singing voice ("Think Twice," "Come Get It," "Brazilian Groove"), it's also his most adventurous, with forays into weird time signatures ("Welcome 2 Detroit"), samba ("Rico Suave Bossa Nova") and cyborg strip club joints ("Big Booty Express"). Not to mention Dee's bold takes on classics from Earth Wind & Fire, Donald Byrd and Oneness Of Juju. The album is all over the place; an appetizer platter for one of hip-hop's most brilliant but untapped minds, brimming over with creativity. The guy was infamously shy and introverted, but the track-by-track liner notes included here are some of the best insight we can get into his singular vibe and process; full of endearing record nerd anecdotes and elite sampler flexes. Limited edition smoked-out grey edition, includes printed insert, recommended.
- smoked-out grey colored vinyl
- double vinyl pressing
- includes printed insert
- limited edition
- music label: BBE 2019
reviewed by winston wolf 02/2019