J-Dilla: This is Dilla’s World + 5/8
I don’t have a fancier post to commemorate Jay Dee’s death (though I hope to god, one day, my NPR piece on Jay Dee will see the light, or, er, radio waves of day)…like most, I’ve just been listening to his legacy constantly since he passed a year ago (it really doesn’t feel that long ago). In that sense, it’s like he never left so though I mourn his far too untimely passing, the distance hasn’t felt as real yet given all the various music he left behind to keep us company.
These two are taken from a slew of instrumental tracks, some presumably from the Donuts sessions given the similarities in style. Namely, these songs have that, “I’m just playing with ideas” feeling to them, what I described as capturing Jay’s ideas in mid-motion. I loved that quality of Donuts, that they weren’t incomplete but they weren’t polished either; it really gave you a sense of how Dilla thought about sound and rhythm.
The “names” on these are purely arbitrary…though, in the case of “5/8” it’s possible that was Jay Dee’s owning choice of title but who really knows? “This is Dilla’s World” is my own invention (title-wise) given that it flips James Brown’s “This Is a Man’s World” and does so quite lovely. “5/8” derives its name from the beat signature and it’s one of those beats that repeatedly smashes you on the crown and you love every instant, especially when he chops up the guitar and horns.
Anyways, there’s so many great Dilla songs for ya’ll to appreciate this week. Wind up a few, sit back, absorb and pour some out for him.
James Yancey – 1974/2006. R.I.P.