Album Review: J Dilla, Jay Stay Paid

Jay Stay PAid J Dilla’s latest ethereally epic release may be one of my favorites that I’ve heard from his catalog. Jay Stay Paid is a hybrid if you will, the vast majority of it plays out like beat tape, but in between are tracks that feature blazingly blistering emcees. Ma Dukes & Pete Rock put a lot of tender love and care into this album, and it really shows through. They both did a great job of arranging the tracks on this album into a graceful and gorgeous mosaic. It sounds so authentic that you would think that Jay produced the album himself.

I should let you know that since this album came out on Tuesday (I went to Best Buy to buy it at 10AM), I’ve probably already listened to it over 10 times, and I love every cut. There are 28 tracks on this album, so I won’t be able to highlight a whole lot of the tracks, but I will do my best to go over the ones that hit me hard every time I listen to this album. The second cut on the album, “King”, was one that hit me right away a slow rolling drum kick and well placed organ keys, it reminded me of a beat made for a king. The synth hits, piano keys and hand claps of “Lazer Gunne Funk” will have you damn close to jumping out of your seat and dancing hysterically. Los Angeles emcee prodigy Blu adds a hand to the track “Smoke” which has a beat that will truly make you feel “uplifted” after one listen. Black Thought spits venom vehemently over “Reality TV” with so many reality TV allusions you may have to listen to the track a few times, just to catch all of them. DOOM adds a funny (“They’re scared of this track like a terrorist attack”) yet uncharacteristically average and half hearted sounding verse to one of my favorite Dilla beats (Jay Electronica did this beat more justice) on the track “Fire Wood Drumsticks”. Mobb Deep veteran Havoc & Wu-Tang favorite Raekwon make a great cameo on this album and tear apart the track “24K Rap”. Detroit veteran Frank Nitt brings some red hot bars to the table on the track “Pay Day” which features triumphant horns, skull shattering drums and excellently place synth sounds.

My favorite track on this album is actually an instrumental. I had to listen to the track “Glamour Sho75 (09)” at least 3 times the first time I heard it. The grimy ass guitar loop, funky ass bass line and other melodic strings had me just about crawling out of my skin. After only hearing that beat for 2 days I might go out on a limb and say that it’s one of my favorite beats I’ve ever heard.

Jay Dee made incredible music, and this album is a prime example of how good Dilla was at his craft. As I mentioned before this album is produced so well by Pete Rock & Ma Dukes that you may think that Dilla controlled every aspect. If you liked Donuts and The Shining, mash them together into one super album and you will arrive at Jay Stay Paid. If there is one thing that’s clearly evident after listening to this album, Jay truly is Staying Paid! This is one of the best releases of 2009 without a doubt.

9.4 Dilla Dilla Beats Beats, Dilla Dilla Beats Beats out of 10


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