J-Dilla had passed on before the extreme rise of social media. Only a few people knew the genius of J-Dilla, and perhaps fewer understood his musical impact. Fast forward to 2014; J-Dilla is a ubiquitous force around the world. In an age where beat making is an essential part of modern lifestyle, beat-makers often pay tribute to J-Dilla. Many now understand his impact and consider J-Dilla the godfather of beat making.
Year after year tributes are released and serve as reminders to measure how far J-Dilla’s influence extends, 8 years after his untimely death. However as tributes are released, some releases often miss the point of his extensive musicianship. His music as I remember was laced with the dopest drum kits backed by the freshest drum patterns. Let alone the craziest samples mixed with live instrumentation made me realize I was a better fan of his music, rather than trying to mimic his production style. Pharrell Williams once said, “I aspire to be as great as him” and described J-Dilla as the “illest.” ?uestlove of The Roots also quoted as saying, J-Dilla “was the only cat whose music gave me goose bumps in the last 10 years.”
In sum, J-Dilla was an accomplished musician by age 32. He left his musical imprint in the minds of aspiring producers and beat-makers. This is where Millennium Jazz Music (MJM) latest album Ruff Graft enters.
Ruff Graft is a “play on Jay Dee’s original Ruff Draft [release in 2003],” however, adding to the wordplay, graft by definition means, “sprout,” “offshoot”, or “transplant.” These terms help capture the essence of Ruff Graft.
I must admit, when I first hear MJM release Ruff Graft, I thought “Gadget does not play games with music.” This meant I must give the album it’s full and undivided attention. I listened to the album quite a few times and then I hit me, “this is the best J-Dilla tribute album I’ve heard! – since Dilla Joints by The Roots” As a Dilla fan since Ruff Draft (coincidently), I’ve grown accustomed to imaging music the way J-Dilla did. Any tribute must come equipped with the right musical elements, playing in sequence to present its full potential to the listener. Ruff Graft is reminds me of the first time I listened to Ruff Draft.
Ruff Graft summarizes a small part of J-Dilla’s catalogue with a few tracks reminding you how far J-Dilla’s value travels. For veteran J-Dilla fans, some tracks require memory jogging. For one, J-Dilla was known to sample multiple records into one track, so happy researching. For new J-Dilla fans, you got your work cut out, for now! The album is an in-house collaboration between MJM producers and DJs, each methodically organizing an enormous puzzle of a musical genius.
Please – Help Jay Stay Paid! And support the tribute – Ruff Graft // now available in digital and physical format.