J Dilla/Various – Dillanthology: Dilla’s Best – Rapster

Lauren Martin

There are certain artists within every musical genre that unite fans in their mutual love and respect for either their musical output, unique creative philosophy, or sometimes both. Such artists often verge on hero-worship status, and J Dilla is this very figure to the modern hip-hop fan and producer alike. His influence has grown exponentially not only within the hip hop community — neo-soul acts such as The Platinum Pied Pipers and Sa-Ra Creative Partners, and the new generation of formidable beat-makers such as Flying Lotus, all pay their respects to his staggering body of work.

His productions have become cornerstones of the technical processes and ideological approaches to hip hop, proving to listeners that the genre is continuing to evolve in new, exciting directions. However, this gold-tinted prestige surrounding him creates a problem of how exactly to introduce the new listener to J Dilla’s genius. His impressive back catalogue can be intimidating, so this triple CD offering acts as a shortened anthology — Vol. 1 presents his productions for other artists, Vol. 2 his remixes and Vol. 3 showcases his solo works from his final few albums.

All the offerings here are filled with his delicious, soulful hip-hop beats, and collaborations with artists including The Roots, The Pharcyde, Slum Village and Madlib. While some productions are laid back and melodic, others lace juicy, snapping licks seamlessly with the various vocal talents and their lyrical mastery. Overall, these thirty-nine tracks serve as a fitting tribute to the late, great wonder of James D. Yancey.


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