DONUTS – J DILLA Sunday 22 January, 2012

Like hip hop? Buy this. No arguing.

Those of you not familiar with hip hop might find the idea of an 31 track album with no vocals and no tracks as long as two minutes a bit odd. Those of you that are familiar with hip hop will probably find it a bit odd too, to be honest. I advise all of you to cast that perception of oddity aside though and get ready to wish that all albums were like this.

J Dilla was a legendary hip hop producer. I say was because he died from a blood disease in 2006. I didn’t discover him until after he died. Well that’s what I thought, until I discovered that he’d produced stuff that I loved. I think the first time I heard his name was when I was at a Little Barry gig, to review it, and I was talking to a girl. She told me that she liked hip hop. I went into arrogant mode because I like to think I know about hip hop. I asked her who she like and she told that J-Dilla was the best thing in hip hop ever. I told her I’d never heard of him. She walked away. I remember feeling put out by this obvious snub. Then I listened to this album and I understood why she’d reacted like that.

This is a collection of 31 sample and sequencer based musical doodles and within that body there is very little that doesn’t deserve to be there. There are some tracks that I don’t like as much as others but it’s all of such a high standard that that shouldn’t be taken as too harsh a criticism.

This is an album that you will listen to all the way through (probably repeat a couple of tracks – Two Can Win and One Eleven for me – a few times each) and then listen to all the way through straight away again. There can be no higher accolade than that save for the fact that I still feel like that about this album after a couple of years of listening.

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