J Dilla

Dillanthology, Vol. 1: Dilla's Productions for Various Artists

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Kicking off with the perfect choice of "Runnin'" from the Pharcyde, Dillanthology 1 is an excellent sampler of late hip-hop producer J Dilla's work for others, but it's not an overview. Important tracks with Janet Jackson, Jaylib, Q-Tip, and others are missing, plus there are also no liner notes explaining why this man from Detroit was so influential and how he touched so many. One listen through, though, and even the newcomer will know why he's so revered. Track after track of warm soul and head-bobbing beats fill the collection while great names from Amp Fiddler to Busta Rhymes all deliver, feeding off productions so attractive and balanced that they could make lesser artists seem brilliant. Nothing is below a B+ here but a proper solo J Dilla cut would have rounded the set out nicely, and with the rule of only one track per artist, his great work with Slum Village alone seems underrepresented. Still, if you're a newcomer looking for that gateway drug or a devotee looking for an excellent mixtape, Dillanthology 1 is a no-frills solution.

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