Boomkat Product Review:
Dilla's 'Ruff Draft' has quite rightly become a thing of folklore - with his untimely death providing the impetus for Stones Throw to dust off the masters and reissue it as a bonus drenched double set.
A missing link that provides a thrilling insight into the jump Dilla made from his early work as part of Slum Village and production whizz for A Tribe Called Quest, Common, The Pharcyde and De La Soul, over to the experimental and technically intense work which marked his collaborative venture with Madlib. Where there was once dust-in-sunlight vibes, suddenly there was somersaulting synths and surgical strike electronics - all buffering the raw cut stance of the new Dilla.
pening with a spoken word prologue from Dilla himself where he explains 'Ruff Draft' is for "DJs that play that live shit and wanna bounce in your whip", things get underway through the thumping 'Let's Take It Back'. Trickling into being with something that resembles Vangelis, the supine atmosphere is gleefully shattered when Dilla drops an angular beat of perfect density. The back-track rhythms and dramatic soundscapes of 'Reckless Driving' is next - a tune that could be straight from the pages of Yancey's Madlib hook-up as marble mouthed vocals stop and start over the poised r-e-p-e-a-t backing. Elsewhere, 'Nothing Like This' serves up a warped vocal sample that fades into reverb oblivion, 'Crushin' (Yeeeeaah!)' belies Dilla's move to the West Coast, whilst 'The $' is a bounding cask of electro-bass and tooth-pick vocals.