If you didn’t fall in love with Hip-Hop because of the lyrics, then most likely you fell in love with it because of the beats, and James “J Dilla” Yancey is the reason for your obsession.
Even though the producer who provided people with neck-snapping beats over his career is no longer with us, his work still lives on through others who do his unique sound the justice it deserves.
This month, the beat technician has two more projects to offer his followers in Dillanthology vol. 2 [Click for review] and the much anticipated Jay Stay Paid.
Whereas Dillanthology vol. 2 [Click for review] is a collection of oldie but goodie remixes from way back when, Jay Stay Paid is a project containing unreleased material all mixed and arranged by Pete Rock.
The album is a combination of instrumentals and full-length songs featuring artists like Diz Gibran [Click for review], Havoc, Raekwon [Click for Raekwon interview], Black Thought, Illa J (J Dilla’s younger brother), Lil Fame from M.O.P., and Blu.
Whether you’re listening to crisp instrumentals like ‘Lazer Gunne Funke,’ ‘I Told Yall,’ or ‘Mythsysizer,’ to the actual songs backed by vocals, J Dilla’s production once again proves that it stands the test of time.
One of the standout tracks on the record is ‘Reality Check’ featuring Black Thought. With the use of quick guitar riffs and Dilla’s patented drum loops, The Roots’ frontman runs through a medley of reality shows relating them to his relationship:
“Went from a Surreal Life to Strange Love/some behavior, I couldn’t figure the flavor/dropped out of Charm School, but she fell in love with New York/and Love Money, that’s what I’m not made of/I bought a membership to the Celebrity Fit Club/to see if I could stand a Real Chance with this love.”
Illa J keeps the family name alive and well with his contribution on ‘See That Boy Fly.’ Over a track that most MC’s would die for, little brother runs through some braggadocios material that is probably making big brother proud in the studio in the sky, “Illa J vocals, no Vocoder/beat still bangin’ and it’s 12 years older than yo sh*t/my girl look younger, but she older than yo chick/I was gonna sing, Dilla told me to go spit.”
Jay’s currency continues to flow with other contributions like ‘Digi Dirt’ (feat. Phat Kat), ‘Blood Sport’ (feat. Lil Fame of M.O.P.), and ‘Smoke’ (feat. Blu).
As it was mentioned earlier, Jay Stay Paid is a mixture of both instrumental and full-length songs, but whatever you choose to listen to, the result will end up being exactly the same: The genuine satisfaction of listening to real Hip-Hop, while still wishing one of the best to ever do it was still among us.
Gone in physical, but never forgotten in spirit, J Dilla is indeed paid, in a way that most artists will never be; and that’s with a catalog of work that can’t be rivaled by anyone…