Rebirth of Detroit
The press release proclaims “J. Dilla’s mother, Mrs. Maureen ‘MaDukes’ Yauncey is pleased to announce a new album of unreleased material from her son”.
What it doesn’t tell you – but I will, right now in fact – is that the reason she’s pleased is because it means, in the parlance of the culture, she gettin’ paid! There is no (other) reason for this album to exist. And with it we have to consider J. Dilla to now be somewhere between Jeff Buckley and Jimi Hendrix in the musical grave-robbing stakes. Well, it’s more Buckley really isn’t it? A mother overseeing things, suggesting claims of legitimacy, of it all being so well-meaning.
J. Dilla, known also as Jay Dee, born James Dewitt Yancey, was a shining light in hip-hop; one of the producers and beat-makers that would go some way towards legitimising the art-form, musically speaking. His work as a member of Slum Village was backed up with production work for Ghostface Killah, Common, Erykah Badu, A Tribe Called Quest, Raekwon and Busta Rhymes. That’s just a few of the names.
His albums released under the monikers Jaylib and J. Dilla offered something fresh and new.
These are stale leftovers. There’s nothing of worth here. Nothing.