Being somewhat incapacitated with the wonky back has shown me one very important thing and that thing is that I could get used to doing nothing. Man, what have I been thinking all these years with the constant motion of doing this or that? I always had to be doing something; clean the dirty dishes, pick up the living room, downstairs trying to write music, or preparing food for someone besides myself. Shit, why didn’t anyone tell me that lounging around in the house on a Saturday was so damn relaxing? I’m still in my pajama pants and yesterday’s t-shirt and sweatshirt with the faint air of yesterday puffing from under my shirt every time I get up to do something. Normally that would’ve bothered me, but not today. I’m not saying that I’m thankful for the herniated disc and looming surgical procedure that’s coming up on March 31st, or the 3 to 4 weeks of recovery time and physical therapy that comes along with it. No, I’m not saying that at all. But this all too painful reminder of my mortality has shown me that down time can be pretty cool. Despite my slow moving train approach to life currently I still accomplished some things today. I slept in till 8:30am. I got up and made some Komodo Dragon dark roast and my dad came over at 9am for our Saturday morning cup of joe and conversation. After my pops left, the boy and I headed downstairs and played some Rally X and Rolling Thunder on the PS2. Once I was good and infuriated at those stupid f*****g games, I decided I’d get started on some mix tapes. I actually got a few requests for mix tapes so I’m doing my part to make the world a better place by sharing antiquated forms of music consumption. One down, three more to go.
So yesterday after work I stopped off at my favorite local record shop and thought I’d see what kind of goodies they’d gotten in since I was last there(two weeks ago, I think.) I chewed the fat with Johnny V, the owner of said brick ‘n mortar and he showed me what he got in that afternoon. One of the records immediately caught my eye, J Dilla’s Donuts. I’m not much of a hip hop aficionado, but the name J Dilla has hit my ears on more than one occasion. I knew he was a much respected beat maker and sampler from the Motor City(Detroit for you folks that don’t know what the Motor City is.) I also knew he passed away ten years ago from a blood disease.
I love beat makers that build their beats from old school soul and R&B. That was one of the main reasons I got into early Kanye West, in particular his The College Dropout and Graduation records. If I could’ve gotten an album of nothing but those beats and samples I would’ve been a happy camper. Later on I discovered Madlib and the album he produced of Freddie Gibbs. Killer beats as far as the eye could see. But then I found his Shades of Blue album in which he remixes several Blue Note artists. The album looked like a lost treasure from Blue Note’s golden age from the late 50s and early 60s. That album blew me away. Killer beats without denigrating the artists original intentions. J Dilla had been talked about in the same way as Madlib so I knew I needed to cross paths with the man and his work at some point. So after discussing Donuts with one of the guys at Karma and he said that J Dilla, along with Madlib, were considered the John Coltranes of hip hop producers and beatmakers I knew I had to come home with Donuts.
I can tell you that I’m not disappointed with J Dilla. In fact I’ve spun this double LP close to five times since yesterday and it gets better with every spin. It’s chock full of gritty beats and soul samples, with a couple Beastie Boy samples thrown in for good measure. This is the kind of record you put on at a party to give the evening a little bit of funky street cred. Like I said, my hip hop knowledge isn’t much, but I know this album makes me ears happy. I dig records like Common’s Be, Kanye’s first three albums, Beastie Boys, Killer Mike, Oddisee, and both Run The Jewels records. Donuts is up there with all of them. In my digging I also saw that J Dilla and Madlib did an album together called Jaylib. From what I’ve heard of it, I may need to own it.
Well, it’s time to get back to doing more of nothing. I’ve got some movies to watch.