“This isn’t a collection of uncovered hidden tracks; this is the music Dilla intended for you to hear.”
It is a real wonder how late great Detroit producer J Dilla has released more hot and influential records in a decade than present rappers. James Yancey passed away in 2006 after releasing Donuts – and had a couple of projects out there to keep his name and brand active. But now, let me introduce to you to The Diary; a cold cut classic. The sounds are out of this atmosphere. The beats are fully equated, and taste like Hip Hop meets techno with some funky rock n roll Detroit style, and his lyrics sound like he was an unofficial member of Wu-Tang.
This classic was tucked in his stash since the early 2000s and contains a prominent lead feature with Nas dropping that Godson flow produced by Madlib. This is Hip Hop, not just rap. Officially, it’s 16 tracks, but on the physical CD, it’s just 14; however, this is elegant ivory right here. On “The Introduction,” his lines are relevant to that era with love taps sent at Sisqo trying to be like Michael Jackson. Dilla clearly shows his aggressive battle rap bars over varied [hot] production.
On “Fuck The Police,” his gem from 2001, he’s consistently spraying his disgust on the mic; the overall tone/message of the track is still relevant, a decade later: “Tell me, who protects me from you? I got people who buy tecs and weed from you. All a nigga see in the news is cop corruption –and niggas getting popped for nothing.” Dilla flips this harmonious wind instrument-laced beat with potent and relevant messages. The album doesn’t sound like a particular time frame, but rather, just moving motion-audio galore. The features on this project range from Snoop Dogg, Pete Rock, Hi-Tek, and Bilal among others. This is Hip Hop meets soul in a nutshell.
On “Gangsta Boogie,” The Dogg Father adds his touch to the funky groove, and he slithers in between the lines while the bass thumps; something to nod the head off to. “The Anthem” is reminiscent of when Jay-z and R. Kelly use to do records and, on “The Shining PT. 1,” he brings back that increased tempo feel good music that the genre has been missing for 13 years. “The Creep” sounds like a record that would have followed Nas’s “Oochie Wally;” the very Asiatic lyre-stringed beat Is for the ladies in the club and front of the mirror trying to fit into jeans.
The album was released at the right time because right now, in 2016, the art has done a full 360 — there are pure, non-gimmick lyrics spewing through the airwaves, and the world has no choice but to listen to what these artists are saying. The whole project is worth a listen if you miss the “soul” in Hip Hop. This isn’t a collection of uncovered hidden tracks; this is the music Dilla intended for you to hear. It’s only right, cop it now!