For those of you that are hip hop heads, explaining who J Dilla is serves no purpose. On the other hand, I am sure many people do not have an even remote idea as to who this mysterious J is. J Dilla, or Jay Dee, is one of the most famed hip hop producers of all times.
Contrary to what most outsiders may think, neither hip hop nor rap is all smoking blunts, crashing Maybachs, and flaunting one’s money. The producing world is even farther from that. Hip Hop producers are usually smart, talented, crate diggers who do not necessarily enjoy the limelight that some artists do, but generate most, if not all of the “beats”, that rappers use.
J Dilla was amongst the finest of them all. A characteristic of beatmaking is the use of a technique called sampling. Many people view this either as a foreign concept or as plagiarism. It is neither. It’s the essence of a genre. Sampling is the act of borrowing certain parts from other songs, and adding them into a mix of other samples, as well as original recorded material. Sampling is used to create the audio collage that makes hip hop. A very notable song that uses a sample is Kanye West’s song Touch the Sky, which uses a sample from Curtis Mayfield’s Move on Up.
How does Oddisee come into this whole discussion concerning J Dilla, producers, and sampling? Oddisee, simply put, is an amazing producer. Although comparing him to J Dilla might seem a little excessive to certain purists, no producer has created as soulful, simple, but gripping material in years. While many producers enjoy sampling Funk, Disco, as well as more modern genres like electronic music, J Dilla and Oddisee both sample jazz in abundance, giving their music a dreamy vibe. Obviously, there are many other producers that sample jazz, but none do it quite like the two I just mentioned.
What makes both J Dilla and Oddisee amazing is their ability to create instrumentals that sound amazing without a voice rapping over them. The instruments alone transport you to another world, where problems and mundane human issues become irrelevant. You may ask, why is Oddisee becoming the new Dilla if Dilla is a legend? Why do we need Oddisee of we have Dilla? Well, unfortunately, J Dilla died in 2006 because of a rare blood disease named thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (RIP).
As rap and hip hop evolved towards what we now hear on the radio, it became harder to find new producers that created instrumentals devoid of commercial sound, simply for the love of the reoccurring drum pattern and everchanging layers of samples &instruments. Enough of my rambling on hip hop producers! Listen to J Dilla if you don’t already know him, and become familiar with Oddisee, a great new producer coming from Washington DC!
I would recommend listening to the album Donuts by J Dilla and the album Rock Creek Park, by Oddisee.