Boomkat Product Review:
J Dilla’s final, posthumous release of archived beats finally sees light of day; presenting his family and friends’ definitive version for The Diary Of, which was due to be his debut solo LP in 2001, yet was ultimately shelved until now, a decade on from his untimely death due to complications with a rare blood disorder.
Unofficial versions of the album have snuck out as bootlegs, but this version, pieced from two-track mixdowns and multi-track masters discovered in his vaults, arrives with the blessing of his heirs and his estate, which is managed by Eothen Alapatt - general manager of Stones Throw and A&R behind the classic Donuts LP and his jay lib project with Madlib.
Longterm spar, Madlib contributes to production, as do Pete Rock, Hi-Tek, Waajeed, House Shoes, Nottz, Supa Dave West, Bink! and Karriem Riggins, along with a trifle controversial showing by Snoop Dogg on vocals along with regular foils Bilal and Kokane.
If you’re a Dilla nut, it’s highly probable that you know a handful of these tracks in some form already, such as the Gary Numan flip Trucks, or the west coast-vibing Fuck The Police. However, beyond his circle of fellow producers, family and beat freaks, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard this in its intended entirety.
Fair to say that hip hop has naturally bloomed in new ways away from this sound nowadays, but as far as the essence of boom bap, the art of sample cracking, and legible rhymes are concerned, this is the real deal Dilla style, and framed about as close as you’re ever gonna get to how he wanted his debut opus to sound.