You can’t look anywhere in hip-hop today without seeing the influence of J Dilla, it is everywhere. The iconic producer is considered to be one of the very greatest and his production impacts the very music we hear today. With J Dilla being one of the leading producers to work on such albums as a Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Beats Rhymes and Life’ and ‘Illmatic’ by Nas, supposedly one of the best hip-hop albums ever, it is no surprise that he was looked up to. However, it seemed that nobody looked up to him with greater admiration than that of his younger brother, Illa J. Although Illa J’s career hasn’t had anywhere near as much depth as that of his older brother, the quality is certainly there. J Dilla’s mind-blowing production is echoed throughout the music of his younger brother and, after years of inspiration, Illa J had released two studio albums. It was believed that Illa J in fact, turned his complete focus to music after his brother’s death, in a hope of carrying on the family’s musical legacy.
The track i’ve chosen for this week comes from Illa J’s debut album ‘Yancey Boys’. ‘All Good’ is a relaxing number which oozes melancholy and nostalgia. The crisp yet slurry sample comes from the 1967 song ‘Look Of Love’ by Ray ‘Funky Trumpet’ Davies and features a soothingly repetitive riff. This song, along with the rest of the album was in fact produced by J Dilla and, I feel that Illa J showcases them in a new, refreshing light. What’s not lot to love about a new album of old, unreleased Dilla beats? It’s apparent from Illa’s relaxed and minimal flow that he intends to show nothing but the upmost respect to these world-class instrumentals by letting them breathe, as a pose to smothering them with lyricism. Take a listen to the album and you’ll find yourself drifting away in a mesmerising haze of soul-infused hip-hop. ‘Yancey Boys’ was released back in 2008 on Delicious vinyl record label, the very same label that previously featured the likes of The Pharcyde and Masta Ace.
Described by Pitchfork, a leading hip-hop reviewer, as “A good, unhurried, rainy-afternoon rap album”, ‘Yancey Boys’ provides that dose of nostalgia to ease you through reality. ‘All Good’ helps especially. The beat and lyrics seem to acknowledge how that although the shimmering past might seem tempting to dwell in and, although it’s miserable and dreary outside, the best thing is to look and push forward. For this exact reason ‘All Good’ is my track of the week.
Listen & enjoy here –