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Editors’ Notes

Donuts proves that the cliché about some people just having to make music is true: producer Jay Dee/J Dilla (Common, A Tribe Called Quest) reportedly completed much of the album in his hospital bed, using vinyl, a portable turntable and a Powerbook. One of the Slum Village founder’s last works before his death just after turning 32, this is a fantasia of loops, bringing together soft-soul guitar lines and verbal warnings (Eddie Kendricks: “People, the time has come”), an early electronic-music demo record, a yearning line from “For Once in My Life” and a holler from the Beasties’ “It’s the New Style” in a dreamscape that’s playful, challenging and repays the compulsive listening it invites. Included are “One for Ghost” and “Hi,” two beats Dilla provided for Ghostface’s Fishscale.


Born: 07 February 1974 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Frequently and rightly placed in the same context as DJ Premier, Pete Rock, and Kanye West, J Dilla (aka Jay Dee) built and sustained a high standing as a producer's producer while maintaining a low profile. When Pharrell Williams appeared on BET's 106 & Park in 2004, he excitedly declared that Dilla was his favorite producer and told an audibly stumped crowd that it had probably never heard of the man. At the time, Dilla had been active for well over a decade and had netted enough beats -- including...
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Donuts, J Dilla
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