Jay Dee made a name for himself as one-third of A Tribe Called Quest's beat-making faction (the Ummah). Thanks to his work on Common's critically acclaimed Like Water for Chocolate and Q-Tip's post-Quest endeavor Amplified, Dee has also established himself as a hip-hop super-producer. While Dee's stock continues to rise (working with Janet Jackson, Erykah Badu, and Macy Gray), his underground projects have been less fruitful. Reason being, when it comes to enlisting new MCs to collaborate with, Dee has yet to locate a lyricist capable of augmenting his sublime production. This fact became apparent during Dee's short-lived stint as a member of Slum Village, and the trend continues with his first solo outing, Welcome 2 Detroit. Here, Dee continues to showcase a diverse assortment of sensuous melodies and booming funk samples. The Detroit-bred MCs who Dee chooses to highlight -- Phat Kat on "Rico Suave Bossa Nova" and Beej on "Beej-N-Dem, Pt. 2" prove to be very mediocre lyricists. Yet Dee did manage to round up a few hometown prospects, as Frank N Dank liven up "Pause" and Elzhi rips a few furious verses on "Come Get It." Though Dee flips a few clumsy bars as well, Welcome 2 Detroit really takes off when he sticks solely to an instrumental script, retouching trumpeter Donald Byrd's "Think Twice" and transforming Kraftwerk's indelible "Trans-Europe Express" into the strippers'-anthem-in-waiting "B.B.E. (Big Booty Express)."
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AllMusic Review by Matt Conaway
feat: Blaine John Beejtar