(swiped from Pitchfork Media)
Last week marked the third anniversary of space-rap visionary J Dilla's death, and his influence over younger beatmakers like Kanye West and Black Milk probably looms larger now than it ever has. So it makes sense for Rapster Records, the company responsible for those compilations of sampled material from Daft Punk and Massive Attack records, to put out Dillanthology, Volume 1, a sort of Dilla 101 compilation. Dillanthology collects some of the production work that Dilla did for prominent clients and frequent collaborators like Erykah Badu and Busta Rhymes. But it's interesting to ask whether it really serves as an ideal introduction to the man's work.
A huge part of Dilla's peculiar brand of genius was his fractured intensity, the way he'd spend hours in the studio manipulating one old record-loop until it skipped and warped in just the way he wanted. And so most Dilla devotees would probably point to his 31-track Donuts beat tape as the ideal diving-in point for anyone interested in the man's deep legacy. The crew of writers on Brandon Soderberg's No Trivia blog currently paying tribute to the album on a track-by-track basis can attest to that. My own favorite might be the posthumously reissued Ruff Draft EP, where Dilla's likable, awkward vocals sort of charmingly set off the synthetic ripples of his tracks. Point is: Dilla wasn't exactly the seasoned industry-pro type, and it's a bit weird to see him honored with what basically amounts to a standard greatest-hits package.
Still and all, there are some amazing tracks on Dillanthology, which Rapster will release on March 31; Badu's "Didn't Cha Know" is a particular favorite. If nothing else, it'll be good for filling in some iTunes gaps, and maybe it'll inspire the folks at Rapster to dig a little deeper with any future volumes. But curious parties should know that a comp like this is merely the tip of a completely fascinating iceberg.
Here's the tracklist:
01 The Pharcyde: "Runnin'"
02 Slum Village: "Fall in Love"
03 Common: "The Light"
04 Erykah Badu: "Didn't Cha Know"
05 De La Soul: "Stakes Is High"
06 Busta Rhymes: "Show Me What You Got"
07 The Roots: "Dynamite"
08 A.G. [ft. Aloe Blacc]: "Hip Hop Quotable"
09 The Pharcyde: "Drop"
10 Amp Fiddler: "I Believe in You"
11 Steve Spacek: "Dollar"