First off, let’s address the elephant in the room. This is not another cash grab attempt exploiting the reputation of J Dilla. This is an album he wanted to release back in 2002 to expand his repertoire and compete with the likes of close friend Madlib and his side project, Quasimoto. This was the prolific producer without a voice, finally showing his own, trying to prove his skills as an MC rather than the production side of things. Don’t get me wrong, these are still Dilla beats that you’ll hear and love for those unusually pitched soul samples that are cut, chopped and screwed to no avail, but you’ll have Dilla riding on top of his legendary beats with Snoop Dogg, Nas, Boogie and many others as he spits aggressive, calculated and timely rhymes. And surprisingly, he can hold his own, especially with the likes of Snoop on the song “Gangsta Boogie.”
It’s a recipe for success when you have such an all-star and classic lineup. Yet the only thing that hurts this album is time. The tracks definitely sound dated as this is a product of hip-hop from the early 2000s, but at the same time it’s a breath of fresh air with the current trap-riddled music industry that’s been hijacked by the Atlanta scene.
You’ll have a wide selection of soul, jazz, rock and even classical samples riddled across the various tracks of the album as Dilla masterfully chops and screws them beyond recognition, while having some decent bars dropped by the man himself. One of the most surprising songs on the album is “Fuck the Police,”which is clearly inspired by the N.W.A. hit, takes a more urgent and aggressive spin compared to the other songs on the album. It’s a similar story on “The Sickness” where Nas rides shotgun as they go head-to-head trading rhymes and it’s scary how well he stacks up against the legendary rapper. He’s hungry, he’s ambitious and with this album, he definitely proved that not only was he a titan of production, but if still alive today, could have also been a prolific rapper.
Rating: 4/5 Stars