J Dilla ft. Guilty Simpson & Madlib - “Baby”
“Turn it up,” says James Yancey, smooth and calm over his chopped-up strings and horns, before Guilty Simpson’s bass-rap comes in on top of the pitched-up samples.
Part of J Dilla’s genius was his ability to not only flip the emotion of whatever track he was sampling, but flip the very words the original artists used to create sounds and juxtapositions that pushed his music upwards into something completely new (see: Slum Village, “Players,” the chorus of which actually samples The Singers Unlimited’s “Claire.”)
In this case, it’s The Stylistics’ 1980 track “Maybe It’s Love This Time”. The original track is a traditional soul ballad of yearning and want (“Darling, maybe it’s love this time”) but Dilla flips the sounds and the word “maybe” so that each rapper finds himself spitting game to the fairer sex in the traditional way: calling her “baby.” It’s a boastful, up-front song with bravado and confidence, with not an ounce of weeping oh-girl-I-need-you-so to be found.
Originally featured on J Dilla’s The Shining, posthumously released in 2006, “Baby” can be found on Dillanthology 3: Dilla’s Production. This collection samples the producer’s solo albums as well has his noted noted work with Madlib under their Jaylib title. Dillanthology 3 is the final installment of the series and drops on October 13.
JR and PH7 feat. Guilty Simpson & Black Milk - “Top Rank”
This is on some next-level, futurstic tip: swirling keys, filtered horn stabs, a dark bass drum, and some MEAN vocals by two of Detroit’s finest. Producer/MC Black Milk continues to develop his flow (as he proved in my favorite album of 2008, Tronic) and my jaw dropped at the swagger of Guilty’s effortless “I got this”-type flow when the beat hits.
“Top Rank” will be on The Standard, due to drop March 20th on Supercity.