“Ouuuuieeeeee!” is the sound I made after reading that ?uestlove made a 60 minute tribute to J Dilla. I’ll take 60 minutes ?uestlove and ask for 60 more. (You know what they say about giving a mouse a cookie.)
This wasn’t the first time ?uestlove had made a tribute mix for the late great producer. For those unfamiliar, ?uestlove, drummer for The Roots (and Jimmy Fallon to be exact) was friends with Dilla and a huge fan of his work. In interview with XXL, ?uestlove admiringly explained how Dilla’s craftiness assembling a drumkit for “Think Twice” taught him a new style:
I look at the drum set, and I was like, “Wait, you recorded that on this?” And it was the most dingiest, dirtiest, not even second-hand. [It] looked like the Fat Albert junkyard gang drum set. Screws were missing; some of the heads were broken. Matter of fact, he didn’t even use real drumsticks on “Think Twice.” He used a vibraphone mallet, and he had a broken drumstick that he got some toilet paper from the bathroom, and some rubber bands. I was like, “You would rather go through this MacGuyver shit than buy new drumsticks?” He’s like, “I didn’t know where to get ’em this late at night; I had to make due.” I was like, “Well, why did you hit the drums with the mallet?” He was like, “I didn’t want the dynamic to be too aggressive. I wanted to sound muted, so I decided to play the drums with the soft cotton mallet.” It looked like putting a marshmallow at the end of a toothpick [Laughs]. Next thing I know, I’m now flying to Philadelphia—I think the next week, [to work on] The Roots’Phrenology record [and] I tracked both “Quills” and “Pussy Galore” the same way. I went and got some orchestra mallets, and then I too started, just ’cause I seen how he got that sound.
On this 45 minute mix (why they called it 60 mins, I don’t know), you get a real taste of Dilla’s range. Noted for his drums, at times Dilla’s beats were really soulful, even jazzy, while others he seemed to space out into realms more traveled by Madlib (whom he later collaborated with as Jaylib).
Gaslamp Killer emcee’d the Boiler Room event and mentioned how many of the tracks were unreleased or rare. We thought we should share a few of those rare beats with you, so here you go.
J Dilla – “Beat 1”
J Dilla – “Beat 2”
J Dilla – “Beat 33”
J Dilla – “Trashy” (off Vintage)