Rapper finishes last album shortly before death

If you caught any true musician or lover of music during their last days being alive, they would more than likely be creating or listening to a musical masterpiece. Such is the case with Jay Dee a.k.a. J-Dilla. His latest CD entitled “Donuts” is an-all instrumental project. It shows why his production and record-sampling technique is among the most revered and imitated within the hip-hop community.

This project also turned out to be his last. J- Dilla (James Yancey) passed away on Feb. 10, due to complications from the lupus Disease.

His label, Stones Throw Records, released the CD on Feb. 7, which happened to be his 32nd birthday.

Part of the project was made at his home studio and in the hospital while trying to recover from the sickness, which later became lethal.

A portable studio was brought to his hospital room. He used a sampler, a drum machine, a portable turntable and laptop computer and crates filled with vinyl records.

Listening to the beats gives a greater appreciation for the time and effort put into it. He really put his heart and soul into making this record, which makes it seem he knew this would be his last, his greatest.

The song “Time; The Donut of the Heart” includes a sitar playing the melody on top, with soft strings on the bottom.

Jay Dee interweaves vocal samples of the Jackson 5 hit “All I Do Is Think Of You” throughout the track.

The beat then slows down at half-speed so that it sounds like a ballad and picks back up again to the original tempo shortly.

“Lightworks” is the best track on the entire album.

It starts out with a sample from what seems to be a commercial. A female sings with a floating voice “What is this magic that makes one’s eyes sparkle and gleam, light up the skies? The name of the game is lightworks.”

After the intro, percussion rhythms start and then it turns into an all-out, hip-hop-head banger filled with various sound effects including vinyl scratching sounds and sirens and vocal samples.

Other standout beats include; “Don’t Cry,” “Mash,” “Last Donut Of The Night” and “Two Can Win.”

While J-Dilla is a household name in underground hip-hop circles, he is also known among mainstream producers and artists.

He has done production for artists such as The Pharcyde, Common, A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, Janet Jackson and Erykah Badu, among others.

His production has influenced countless others such as Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and Questlove from The Roots. Listening to “Donuts,” it isn’t very hard to see why.

There are 31 tracks on this album, all except one being under two minutes. Some songs are too short, but they stop before becoming dull and repetitive.

The production on this album is raw. Many of the tracks blend right into each other, making the CD feel like one long song or a mixtape. Some of the songs have false starts, which gives it a sloppy, underground feel.

If you are a true hip-hop fan, or just like to hear tight beats with dope samples, or if you want to hear last works from the musical genius that J Dilla was, then “Donuts” is the CD to add to your collection.