Jay Dee's solo debut expanded with previously unreleased extras! 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. This 20th anniversary 45 boxset edition stretches the album out onto a whopping twelve 7"singles along with instrumental versions of each track plus a trove of bonus material: a previously unreleased DJ Muro remix of "Think Twice" (with instrumental), a cover of "Rico Suave Bossa Nova" by Azymuth (!), tons of alt takes, original versions, cassette demos and more. It comes encased in a hard outer box with a full color booklet containing extensive notes by Karriem Riggins, House Shoes, Amp Fiddler + more key players detailing the album's creation. Highly recommended!
- 20th anniversary edition of J Dilla's 2001 debut
- (12) seven-inch vinyl singles
- includes original versions, instrumentals, previously unreleased remixes, alt takes, cassette demos + more
- full color booklet contains an oral history of the album + rare photos
- limited edition
- music label: BBE 2021
reviewed by winston wolf 02/2019