Wild Style Wednesday Review: J Dilla, The Shining

The Shining This album was posthumously released shortly after Dilla died. Good friend Karriem Riggins took the album under his wing with the wave from Ma Dukes. Many sources say that Dilla was only able to finish around 75% of the album before his untimely death. Even though this album wasn’t on my top 10 albums of all time, I can assure you that this is one of my favorite albums of all time. This is the first album I ever heard of Dilla’s solo material, and for that reason alone I am forever grateful to this album. I remember reading reviews on Amazon, and hearing people complain that this album is just over 30 minutes long. This album just proves that good things really do come in small packages.

The album starts out with the track “Geek Down”. It contains one of my favorite beats on the album, it sounds like Dilla sampled a million bees and chopped the noise of their wing vibrations and then layered them over hard ass hitting drums. The only thing that is unfortunate is that Busta Rhymes just kind of says the same thing over and over when he probably could have spit a dope verse. The second track on the album “e=mc2” featuring Common is a great track that shows how exceptionally excellent Dilla and Common’s musical chemistry was. With a hard thumping ass beat, Common flows like his life depended on it leaving the Dilla’s beat scarred and frayed after he’s done with it. Guilty Simpson really shines (no pun intended) on this album and is featured on two of the best tracks of the record, “Baby” & “Jungle Love“. In “Baby” Guilty breaks down his devilish demeanor, “You can catch Guilty Simpson at a rave with babes/packin’ a 38 snub and a razor blade/thug shit in a major way/I punch your dog’s ass like Flava Flav”. Alongside Madlib & MED in “Jungle Love” Guilty spits one of the best lines I’ve ever heard, “If I was any hotter/I’d drink straight vodka/spit out flames and piss lava”, and easily outshines the other two emcees without question. “So Far To Go” is a track that is so beautiful that can’t be explained in words, it may contain one of Dilla’s best beats of all time. D’Angelo sings the hook in the background and Common flows perfectly to the synthed out beat. At around two minutes is when the track really starts to get interesting, with little snippets of beautiful piano keys that are so manically melodic they almost make me cry.

The two stand out tracks on this album (to me) are “Love Movin” & “Won’t Do”. Black Thought takes the precussion and click-clack heavy “Love Movin” and brings his god emcee skills to light spitting some of the dopest verses ever heard on a Dilla beat. Black Thought had (and still does) a great deal of respect for Dilla and it’s very apparent on “Love Movin” when Black gives the “that’s whats up” to many different people, just like Dilla would have done. In my opinion Dilla saved the shining gem of beats on this album, “Won’t Do“, for himself. I love everything about “Won’t Do”, from its spaced out synths to the dope ass beat in the background. Dilla sounds so at home on this beat, it makes me (and I’m sure everyone else) wish I could hear so much more of him.

This is a great fucking album. I feel like this album encompasses all of Dilla’s music making moods perfectly. I can put this album on pretty much anytime and listen to the whole thing front to back, because there really aren’t any bad tracks on this album. This album was a great predecessor to Donuts and one hell of a way for Dilla’s legacy to live on.

9.5 Bleepy Synths Out of 10


One Response to “Wild Style Wednesday Review: J Dilla, The Shining

  1. […] Ryan’s got his awesome ‘Sunday Metal Minute’ and Tim’s got his fantastic ‘Wildstyle Wednesday’. I’ve been hard-pressed to come up with anything decent for mine, so I had put it off for a […]

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