5 ESSENTIAL DILLA REMIXES + DILLA TIME (Now In Paperback)
5 ESSENTIAL DILLA REMIXES
Exclusive to Fusicology
by Dilla Time Author, Dan Charnas
J Dilla a/k/a Jay Dee did some of his best work as a sonic fix-it man, giving new life to songs originally created by other producers. Here’s a list of five remixes that every Dilla fan should know.
SOMETIMES (THE UMMAH REMIX) • THE BRAND NEW HEAVIES • 1997
Though Jay Dee had been remixing records since the beginning of his professional career two years earlier, “Sometimes,” marked the true birth of the Jay Dee sound: Deep, unglued bass lines over ear-puncturing drums and shimmering harmonies, a combination that Questlove cited as the sound that inspired the Soulquarians.
EVE (JAYDEE MIX) • SPACEK • 2000
According to friends, Jay Dee procrastinated mightily in starting this remix, mystified by Steve Spacek’s vocal and unsure what to do. In the end, he turned the song upside down and remade it in his own image. The limping, eccentric beat is made complete by the debut of Dilla’s oldest friends and collaborators, Frank and Dank.
WITHOUT YOU (JAY DEE REMIX) • LUCY PEARL • 2001
Another creative crossroads, Jay Dee turning away from The Ummah and toward his solo career, from his lush sound to something more jagged and raw. This remix for Raphael Saadiq and Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s post-Ummah project is an exercise in minimalism: on overdriven clavinet over a sparce beat in half-time.
AS SERIOUS AS YOUR LIFE (JAY DEE REMIX) • FOUR TET • 2003
This remix marks the debut of a J Dilla’s collaboration with Detroit MC Guilty Simpson, a frenetic sandwich of sonic elements and rhythms, with J Dilla adding a rare sung chorus, a sublime counterpoint to the chaos.
OBLIGHETTO (J DILLA REMIX) • BROTHER JACK MCDUFF • 2004
Perhaps J Dilla’s proudest moment: tapped by Blue Note Records to participate in its first album of remixes, Dilla chose a jazz song known to hip-hop fans as the central sample in A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario.” J Dilla’s version of “Oblighetto” is a transformer, Dilla trying on different rhythms and harmonies like so many changes of clothes, as skillful and innovative as anyone from Blue Note’s storied past.
THE BOOK – now on paperback
Detroit made Dilla.
Dilla remade rhythm.
The True Story of J Dilla
By Dan Charnas
“This book is a must for everyone interested in illuminating the idea of unexplainable genius.”
“The greatest hip-hop producer of all time is getting the love and care his legacy deserves. Dilla Time is a master class.”
“I look at J Dilla as a man who redefined the word ‘innovative.’ This book makes you feel like you traveled his journey every single step.”