dilla's legacy in another context
Posted 01 October 2006 - 11:13 PM
Dilla in retrospect
the first i'd heard of him was the page in vibe magazine profiling THE UMMAH
next thing i know he's fucked up my then favorite rap group's run of classics...
Once I realized he was produced for pharcyde i chalked up its not totally satisfying lp to jay dee too.
it seems like nobody is talking about that. in 96/97, in the circles of heads i ran with, dilla - jay dee back then, wasnt getting props.
heads were incredulous. who was feeling these "limp/watered down/slow" beats?
later, when i read that fatlip wasnt feeling labcabin, my opinion was validated
at least one of them is honest, i thought.
when i think about it, into 2000/1, i was wary of slum vill for that reason, and the rapping they were coming with didn't help change my mind either.(i remember an acquaintance encouraging me to see them live...that their stage show brought crazy energy that he rarely saw. even before the health issues, shame so many of us never got to see SV version 1)
fast forward: i dropped 17$ (unheard of) on welcome 2 detroit after i heard TRACK featuring Phat kat.
fantastic 2 is another "bitch/ho" filled classic (next to black sheep and beatnuts' first lps)
& truthfully, donuts is my most listened to/favorite Lp of this year (it wasnt that hard bu t still).
im inspired by his work and it seems as though his artistic growth came at a time when many cats' beats weren't dope to me.
that leaves me wondering why i feel the way i feel about his beats and works. will any hip hop impress me like the music did before the onset of puberty? im in my mid twenties, and i wonder if other cats around my age feel it too. is some music not hitting due my nostalgic ties and/or were the joints i felt/feel even that hard to begin with? It's telling that i'd bump the nonce or sacred hoop or black moon or busdriver or dig plans all, before putting on some run-dmc. or nwa for that matter
and i also think about how ?uestlove may like run-dmc,
but i love do you want more and really cant sit through pre-87 stuff more more than a throwback set slizzard. the connection between your favorite music, what inspired that musician, and whether or not you like that stuff is interesting too (part of the hip hop oral history of finally getting an allusion made by an mc from some record old record you finally hear years later)
monie in the middle and bonita applebum.
those are my earliest memories of putting down action figures, or not switching back to nickelodeon...
how do even older cats feel about the music made by musicians 'after the honeymoon?' or, when the sea change came and the rap you initially fell in love with stopped getting common/mainstream run - can you still enjoy the music in the same way? dilla's music told me that the honeymoon was over. the musicians were trying new things, not content/able to stay on the same page upon which they recorded my favorite shits..
eventually i realised that it wasn't jay dee that was responsible for the change in the Pharcyde, tribe or de la soul
(i was highly let down by the sound of stakes is high 12" (and the bizness on the flip) NO PRINCE PAUL?!?! "this isn't de la...have they fallen off?" Remember this was right after jay dee ruined beats rhymes and life [and life after death, which i felt was bloated/sold-out]dropped.)
Music is always changing. dilla didn t make the wu fall off, dilla had little to do with the bad boy/death row days that bored me and nudged me ever closer to independent releases.
Dilla is important because he had direct contact with MY first rap heroes, and he played a part in the changing of THEIR sound, never mind that other stuff..
dilla's new vision of rap music, his esthetic, dated me.
it took me 5 years to revisit the beats 96-98 and feel em (wow, Amplified isn't so disposable now) without thinking about the careers of others he'd impacted. Is it a surprise that I enjoy his new stuff more than the productions for de la/tribe et al.? Do ya'll think his work with de la/ tribe was a good match?
It seems that in death, he is out from the shadows of the legends he produced for.
what about his music?
Posted 02 October 2006 - 03:59 AM
But back then, I didn't think he 'ruined' any of them; I think he was just ahead of his time a little. When I started hearing about him there was JD and Jay Dee. And I was like, 'JD ain't making beats like that. That ain't his style'. Then I heard the Jay Dee story and I'm like, ' Man, this is the future, this is a good point in hip-hop'.
Dilla making beats for ATCQ, Busta, Pharcyde, De La, etc., made us really stop and listen and analyze what was going to happen in hip-hop. At a time when people were distracted by puffy's camp, No Limit, Pac & Biggie, and other shit, he was still middle ground for some of us. It was nice to listen to Labcabin... and Stakes is High on my way to school when others were talking about Master P. This was indeed the turning point (in my opinion). This is when you noticed music videos changing; the artists that were shown and how less of the Tribe and De La you were seeing on Rap City (with Joe Clair & Big Lez lol) and what you started to hear on the radio was different (here at least, I don't know about everywhere else).
I feel like his music was a good match for De La & ATCQ. I'm glad he started his vision with them. I wonder would I have listened if he didn't. I think that was his way of getting our attention, messing with our 'heros'.
Did he make these artists better or did he make them fall off? These artists had control over their own fates; they were what made them good (and they're still good!). I feel like it was a good move on their part to get him heard and it was a good way to start his career.
J Dilla changed lots of people's lives... In the way they heard hip-hop.
Posted 02 October 2006 - 10:47 AM
I remember feeling like Jaylib wasn't that well received when it dropped - or not what I was expecting, not big status. Back then not everyone knew who he was, he broke through a while earlier into people's consciousness with "Fuck The Police" and at that time suddenly everyone reminded themselves
SV was always very big round our way but again it was this slept on vibe.. I think the real heads were joining the dots and figuring out that he was this kind of studio weapon, Phil Spector style, banging away at production values and groove in hip hop, and he definitely changed it for all time. But my point is still that there's revisionism going on a bit. Hip hop is after all an oral history and it's constantly being rewritten
I guess I feel that people were aware - but only recently have they stood in a room, listened to a whole evening of Dilla's music (we've done that london 3 times now) and realised just how many tunes they've known all their lives but not joined the dots between them. It has been quite uplifiting to see that happening. The real value of his contribution.
I guess I feel that he didn't get his due props in life, and once again the cynic in me feels that will happen time again in hip hop. So maybe there's more than one lesson to learn, and I'm not talking programming.. yet
I should add that "nothing like this" by J Dilla on the new chrome children is an amazing case in point. Electro punk new wave.. You could drop it in Berlin and it would wreck the dance(teria). It doesn't compare to anything I've ever heard, hell it's closer to Gary Wilson than anything else on the label.
now imagine a whole lp of that.. and you've got real hip hop , on some other shit
Posted 02 October 2006 - 12:58 PM
practically every track was by mr. yancey... other hot producers out there... but yancey was getting my attention...
when "stakes is high" dropped... i was just like............... DAMMNN
as you get older you get more stuck in your ways... at least for me...
alot of new material is coming out and im not feeling the majority of it...
it's not jock riding or anything else.. it's just what moves me... perhaps i'm stuck in a period of time.
current artist im feeling...
madlib - now more on the ynq level...
kon and amir
benji and gilles for dj sets
mark de clive lowe
need i say dilla.
kareem riggins (spelling?) - he is gonna blow up
old kenny larkin material
the list goes on...
kamal the abstract
it's all mixed... -- eventually you find your sound...
Posted 02 October 2006 - 01:43 PM
Pfffff.. Call me a cynic but tons of these people would always say "pete rock" or "premo" a coupla years back
No, you're totally right because I love them too, but we're just talking from a Dilla perspective, how he fit in there, too. But I do feel that.
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