J. Dilla- How Flow & Rhythm Can Transform The Auditory Experience
What does it mean to know the flow of rhythm? What turns a good Sound Mixer into a legendary Producer? How can you sample songs and transform them into something better than the original works? These are the questions that come up to every single Hip-Hop Producer (if not, Modern Musician) when they want to expand their work beyond the basic pact. But it isn’t just a Single Scene or Sound that makes Hip-Hop Produced Beats stand out. It’s a pure auditory experience on the ears. Some of the most addictive Instrumentals happen in the Hip-Hop Scene, as the best Producers know how to mix Multiple Variants of Rhythms while creating a Mystical Element (or a Transmissive Sound) that intrigues the mind and sends you through an Pulse Pounding Abstract Journey.
Everybody has their favorite Hip-Hop Producers, as there are so many variants that can go into a beat. But my favorite happens to be one of the most legendary to ever exist. James Dewitt Yancy, better known as J Dilla (or Jay Dee), was only in the scene for about 15 Years before he tragically passed away. But while his career was short, his legacy happens to grow throughout every year. Some might say he is more famous & influential now than he was while he was alive (including good friend and fellow legendary producer Q-Tip). In fact, his life follows a similar pattern you would find in a painter, like Vincent Van Gogh or Jackson Pollock.
But we aren’t here to look at the life & legacy of his work. There are thousands (if not tens of thousands) of Articles plastered around the Internet that dive into his life & what he means to fellow music enthusiasts. Instead, I’m going to focus on the Production itself, and why it seems like J Dilla is one of a few Hip-Hop Producers to find the perfect balance between Rhythm, Flow, Structure, Creativity, Mysticism, Intuition, Class & Symbolism. Yes, those are a lot of terms to get your head around. And there are plenty of Hip-Hop Producers who have mastered some of, if not most, of these Terms. But nobody can do it like Dilla, not even other legendary producers like Q-Tip or Madlib (in my opinion). Why is this? Why did Dilla have such a magical touch? Well, it all comes down to the way he plants sounds in your mind and the way he uses the Flow of a song to do so.
Let us begin by looking at what makes this type of music so infectious. As any avid Hip-Hop listener can tell you, the genre is known (and has always been known) to incorporate different styles of music into one catchy auditory beat. These can be a multitude of different genres, ranging from Rock, Country & even Ambiance. But for the purposes of this article, we will look into Three Genres that exemplify the sound of Hip-Hop & more importantly, Dilla himself. These Three genres will be Pop, Funk & Jazz. Broad concepts like this are hard to exemplify without looking at how these Genres Work. I feel like if you understand what makes them work, it will be easier for you to understand the mindset possessed by Dilla.
And speaking of Broad Concepts, the first genre we will be looking into is Pop. Because of the way Music is Marketed (especially here in the United States), Pop can basically mean anything that is popular. Hell, Popular has the word Pop in it (so it’s easy to confuse). This is despite the fact that other Art-Forms have a clear & defined style/motif while exploring the notion of Art. But because it is so confusing, let’s talk about what Pop stands for in its purest form.
For this, we will look at the King himself, Michael Jackson. That’s right, we are going to look at the Classic Opening Song, “Wanna Be Startin Somethin”. I urge every reader to re-examine this song before we continue forward.
Now that you are back (hopefully) you should notice a couple of things. First & foremost, you will notice that this song has a lot of energy towards it. While there are ‘Pop’ songs that are slower paced, they aren’t really songs worth examining for this article (more than likely, they are Singer/Songwriter and/or a Fusion of Multiple Genres). Pop has a Zanny ting to it’s name for a reason, it is supposed to explode & give you a rush of adrenaline.
The goal is supposed to elevate your mind & get you Abstractly involved with the catchy flow of the song. And the way a Pure Pop song does this is by using Repetition. If you weren’t dancing in your mind while listening to “Wanna Be Startin Somethin”, you will notice that the background track (the second part of the song you hear) is on a loop. And this loop never goes away while the song progresses forward. Why is this? And how come it works when Repetition is generally lambasted in the Arts? Well, one of the great aspects about Music (particularly High-Energy Genres like Pop) is how it matches with your Pulse. Percussion Instruments are generally the best Instruments to match with the Pulse, which is why most Pop Songs use a Drum (or Machine that simulates Drum Noises) in them. In a Pop Song, the Pulse is suppose to Rise (or at the very least, it is supposed to have the same tempo). If a Pop Song lowers your Pulse, it isn’t really keeping you excited. If you want to have a consistent Pulse-Pounding Perspective, keeping a Catchy Beat in a loop can do the job. It transforms your mind & makes you focus on the Rhythm.
But as we all know, the entire song doesn’t loop like the background track. Instead, there are multiple points where the Sounds Interlaced with the Background Loop switches up the intent of the song. We can see the progression of this when we listen to the Instruments placed throughout the track. Throughout the song we hear Trumpets that are supposed to alleviate your ears. We hear people sing & mimic the lyrics of Michael Jackson, but only at the end of Sentences/Statements. We hear a Bass Guitar play throughout most of the song, but purposefully stop in curtain segments. All of this keeps the song interesting while being catchy. And because "Wanna Be Startin Something" mixes the Sounds so effortlessly, it is hard to forget.
These changes in sound structure is something that J. Dilla expands in his discography. His Music Matches with the Pulse very effectively. A great example of this is in the Classic Common Song, "The Light". Take a listen down below.
If you didn't notice, this song has a lot of the same elements represented in "Wanna Be Startin Somethin". First & foremost, the background track is on a loop. In fact, this Background Track is so subtle that you can ignore it if you don't pay attention. It's basically a simple Piano Key mixed in with some Drums. But as simple as it may seem, the beat is a brilliantly designed so that the other sounds can add their necessary flavors.
One aspect you will notice with Dilla's work (that very few have copied) is how he changes the tempo within the song. If you can't already tell, you would notice that the Piano Keys are loudest (and most noticeable) during the Chorus. But while Common is Rapping & laying down his thoughts, the piano key becomes silent (or near silent). You will notice this tempo change far more in other songs he has produced. This is a Brilliant Move because it helps the Song have a Wave-Like Motion (an aspect we will look at when examining Funk). But more importantly, it helps keep the Repetitive Catchiness while adding Variety In The Sound. It's the best of both worlds, keeping a sense of consistency while also adding in blips of auditory variety. Dilla takes this concept even further by amplifying different sounds while the beat is in its Muted State (when Common is Rapping). So you will hear a Loud Piano Key or A Clear Lyric from the Futuristic Sample while everything else is muted. This Sense of knowing how & when to use Tempo & Noise makes you want to repeat the song after listening to it. It's Catchy Enough to make you Dance but intriguing enough that you want to explore it again. Instrumental Music (as good as it may be) has a difficult time creating a sense of re-discovery, which is why Popular Music (probably) relies on its singers & their lyrics for repeat listens.
But (in my opinion) Dilla amplifies this particular song with his auditory knowledge. If you listen to the lyrics, they are simple & sweet. This is the intention, but the lyrics alone aren't going to make you want to return. Dilla takes the concept of Peaceful Love & mixes it with a Spiritual Sense of Companionship, taking Sweet Sounds & mixing them with Futuristic Tones. This creates an Abstract Sense of Finding Your One True Love. The Sweet Sounds (and Piano Keys) remind you of Innocence & how it feels to be in a state of romantic bliss. This is while The Futuristic Sounds help you think of the long-term relationship. Mixing these two sounds together makes you subconsciously realize that Common has found the perfect Companion to live his life with. This is Why Common uses this song to talk about his exciting plans & rather than use Expository Language to explain his feelings. The Beat Underneath already explains how Common feels, and all he has to do is talk about his plans. Common did a fantastic job explaining himself, but Dilla's contribution turned a good song into the best & most recognizable song in Common's Discography (at least in my opinion).
Dilla didn't only use the ideals of Pop when it came to the listener's excitement, he used it to showcase Common's Excitement as well. He turned a Performance into an Infectious Lust For Love, and made every listener feel Common's Joyous Discovery.
Now that we have listened to Dilla's most well-known song, let's start to discover how he uses the genres of Funk & Jazz to really showcase his auditory knowledge. From here on out, I'm only going to play the Instrumental Versions of these songs. That way we can really look at the delicate nature of Dilla's work.
The Song Above is titled "The Diff'rence", from his legendary final album (at least while he was alive) Donuts. This Entire Album deserves it's own extensive article (and I might do one if this Article is received well). But the reason I picked this song in particular is because it tricks the common (pun unintentional) pop listener. It starts off on a bang & gets your pulse to rise. But as you listen to the short track, you will notice that this track has a Wavy Motion towards it. In fact, most songs in his discography follow a Wave-Like Pattern. Allow me to explain further.
SIDE STEP: If you listen to this song, you will notice that it has an Alien Quality towards it. That is because Dilla makes you feel the emotions of the person (or Blob with an Antenna in the Video) & their new found discovery. It sounds Alien. because it is alien, which is why it is titled "Nothing Like This".
You see, Pop is the genre that Dilla might have started to play with. But as we start to talk about the other two genres, you will soon realize that Dilla brings in more Elements from Funk & Jazz. Pop is just a Background Aspect that he uses to make his beats addictive. But while Pop helps his songs have Excitement, the Rhythmic Flow possessed in most of his songs can be attributed to practices you'd see in Funk.
The Image Above perfectly replicates the (supposed) feeling of Pop Music. It is a Rush of Adrenaline that makes you feel like you can conquer the world. Your Running Up The Mountain & the World below doesn't matter. The Rhythm comes from that Rush you have for going up that mountain. Funk doesn't use Rhythm in the same way.
As boring as this image is, it perfectly showcases how you are supposed to feel when listening to a Funk Song. The Rhythm moves Up & Down, creating a Bouncing Motion in your mind. In fact, this is why you feel like you want to dance while listening to a Funk Song (and why you want to Run during a Pop Song). Let's look at a quick example of a Chic song (don't worry, this will be short & to the point).
Now this song might sound like "Wanna Be Startin Somethin" at first. But if you listen closely, you will begin to notice the differences. For Starters, this song doesn't have an Elevated Tone, but a Bouncy One. This Particular Funk Song is More Subtle (makes you want to bop your head instead of dance), but the point still remains that the Rhythm is about keeping you in that Elastic State of Transfusion. But the flow is completely different. While a Pop Song uses the same Background Loop while Sprinkling Instruments Throughout, Funk keeps the Same Instruments while Sprinkling different styles of Musical Flow throughout. It's also good to mention that Funk focuses more on the Bass rather than Percussion Instruments (which musically translates to a Bouncy Wave Like Motion instead of a Pulse Pounding One). This Song keeps your mind focused on the Rhythm itself rather than the Results of the Rhythm, which is why it is so infused with Funk as a genre. Alright, back to J. Dilla.
SIDE STEP: This Beat uses Flow to Represent a Gust Of Wind, and a Storm that is coming in the near future (which is why it has a Techno-Sound to it). If you hear the Instrument, you will notice that it Blows In & Out, before rising in tempo. Like a Storm is about to brew, but it isn't coming close yet. The "Hey-Yall" vocals that come in represent the confusion one might go through before a storm. But as the song suggests, it slowly becomes calm once again.
This Track Is Titled "One Little Indian", and it uses the same Bouncy Flow that you would find in a Funk Song. In fact, that Boring Wave Photo I showed Earlier could be more periodic, as you will find yourself bouncing with the beat every half second. You will also notice that The Tempo changes every 5 Seconds (or close to). This is Relative to the Wave Motion of Rhythm that Funk Invented & Popularized.
Now you might be saying that every Hip-Hop Producer follows these steps, and that J. Dilla is no different from everyone else. So far, you'd be correct. Almost Every Famous Hip-Hop Producer has focused on this notion of Wave Like Rhythm that Funk Popularized, which is why it is the most influential genre in Hip-Hop Production. But you'd be wrong if you think that J. Dilla is just like everybody else. It's time to compare & contrast two Hip-Hop Songs that use the Elements of Funk in their Favor. One Conforms while the Other One Transforms (I think you can tell that Dilla's is the one that transforms). But first, let's listen to the Instrumentals for the Beyonce Song Naughty Girl, produced by Scott Storch. Just FYI: this is not an attack on Beyonce, or even Storch. This is just a comparison between a mediocre producer & the King of Beats (in my opinion).
Now you will notice that this song is Catchy & Focuses on the Wave-Like Motion we were talking about. It even has a Smooth Beat that's easy to get into. In the eyes of a regular listener, this song would represent Funk Music in the Early 70's. But that's kind of the problem. This Beat is very basic & generic when you think about it. For starters, the Instruments & The Background Loop intertwine with one another. This makes the entire beat sound like it is on a loop. But the worst part is that Storch makes the Instruments go on a loop as well. You will notice that a Violin (or what I presume is a Violin) is in the Production. An interesting choice for a Hip-Hop Beat if I say so myself. The Problem is that this Violin only plays one Chord throughout the entire track. To his credit, he does play with the length of that Violin Chord. But regardless, this Violin sounds the same wherever he sprinkles it in. It's like he played the Violin for 2 Minutes, sliced it up & sprinkled it throughout the song. Like I said, this isn't a horrible beat, and it does have a Funky Edge to it. But it isn't what Funk Represented back when it was popular. It's like he tried to go back into the Past & Resurrect something Old in order to get recognition points (sounds like an Industry I'm associated with). But J. Dilla comes in, and reminds us why it was so special in the first place. Take a listen down below.
OH MY GOD, IS THAT SO MUCH BETTER!!!! But why? It isn't as bombastic, nor does it have the same Cliches you'd associate with Funk. Well it all comes down to how Dilla viewed the motion of Flow in his song. But more importantly, it is how he uses Instruments to characterize that Flow in Rhythm. This is the subtle change that Dilla saw in Funk Music, which Storch didn't see. Storch was trying to force a Funky Sound, Dilla naturally did so by focusing on Rhythm through Instrumentation. This is how My Forbidden Lover became such a Powerful Funk Song (for me). They played with Instrumentation & Flow, which is what Funk was built upon. And if you think this song is so obscure that I'm trying to pick Cherries off an Apple Tree, then let's look at one of the most popular funk songs ever made.
What does this Song, Dilla's Song & Chic's Song have in Common (again, unintentional)? They make you feel Warm & Happy Inside While Listening To Them. The Bouncy Nature Releases Endorphins that make you feel loose & free. What is the feeling you get from listening to Naughty Girl? Well, you might feel a bit excited (maybe). The Happy Feeling comes because all of these Super Talented Funk Artists know how to use Instruments to effectively make you enjoy the sounds. Dilla takes this notion & puts a subtle hint of Hip-Hop Mixing In it. That is why "A Day With The Homiez" is more true to the Funk Attire than "Naughty Girl".
SIDE STEP: This Song HAs The Same rhythm As The sOngs We Explored Before, but the Main Difference is How Simple & Soft It Sounds. Dilla Has a Great Trait Making Sure HIs Beats Aren't Overpowered & Grand, but the Natural Tone makes you Appreciate the Auditory Work More. This Is THe Best Beat I COuld Find To Transition From Funk To Jazz, And It Shows How Versatile Dilla was.
But we haven't even gotten into the best aspects of Dilla's work. Ladies & Gentlemen, we are now going to talk about Jazz. Why is this such an exciting aspect? Well, despite being older, Jazz is easily the most complex genre on this list. It's very rare that you're going to find somebody who understands Jazz in it's most natural form. It's even rarer to find that in a Hip-Hop Producer. I don't even think I can tackle it in a fair way. But I want to showcase that Dilla knew Jazz better than any other Producer. He probably even understood Jazz better than his Peers who were Jazz Musicians at the time. So let's give it a shot. If I'm not able to convey this, that means Dilla is so impactful that it's beyond words. Let's try to crack this impossible task though (I mean why not, I already made it this far).
So to easily explain what makes Jazz so appealing, we have to look at how Music was perceived for hundreds & thousands of years. Before Popular Music Focused On Rhythm & Flow, it focused on Grand Instrumentation. Classical Music was built on using it's Instruments To Paint & Picture & (sometimes) tell a story. Musicians Like Mozart & Beethoven used their talents to showcase Musical Plots. And while Classical Music has it's place, there was really no place for Rhythmic Patterns (at least it wasn't the focus in Classical Music). The Purpose was to sit down & imagine with the Beautiful Music at hand.
When Jazz first came along, it was more about creating music to Dance to. From the late 1800's to the 1930's, Jazz about making you Dance. You can call it Groovy Music before that term was invented. This all changed when in the 1940's, when Bebob was invented. This was a Faster Musical Style that focused on the Skill of the Musician rather than a style of Dance. This brought Jazz closer to the Philosophies of Classical Music (as opposed to Borque or Waltz, which had Music Designed To Dance To), as the focus was on the performance. Bebob was really quick & constant though, making it a High-Energy Style of Jazz. The Inverse came in the late 1940's when a new term called "Cool Jazz" was invented to stimulate a Jazz Style that was still focused on Performance, but allowed the instruments to be mellow & smooth. Both of these Movements are Vital, and it's one of the reasons why Jazz is often compared to Classical in it's importance. It evolved, and became more about the Performance rather than the results of the Performance. But Jazz still kept a lot of it's roots in tact. Despite being a Performance Driven Music Style, it still focused heavily on Rhythm (sounds obvious now, but the only Performance Driven Music Style that focused on Rhythm before Jazz was Rag-Time). Cool Jazz in particular still used Rhythm despite being very mellow, it just wasn't Rhythm you were supposed to Dance To. Rather, the Rhythm designed in Cool Jazz was far more about putting your mind in a Brain-Wave Like Trance. This style of Jazz is how J. Dilla designs a Beat in mind.
Now it's good to mention that Dilla didn't invent putting Jazz Techniques in Hip-Hop. His Mentor & the already mentioned Legendary Producer Q-Tip laid the foundation that Dilla built upon & perfected. And I can do an Article on his style of Jazz Musical Production, as it is different (subtly different, but different) from Dilla's. But it would also be unfair to not mention The Abstract Producer, since it is almost certain that Dilla was just as much inspired from him as he was from other Jazz Musicians/Styles that he discovered on his own. So for now, we won't mention Q-Tip since we are trying to dissect this Production Style. But keep in the back of your mind that he Inspired, Taught & Even Helped Dilla with some of these techniques that we are about to discuss. He will get his own Article one of these days (especially if you share this one), so don't you worry. Now let's go back to J. Dilla.
Unlike a lot of other Hip-Hop Produced Beats, the name of most of Dilla's songs really reflect the song he Produced. It's weird to think about because the Rapper (or writer) probably came up with the name. I guess Dilla saw the lyrics first & then found a way to find a beat that matched & elevated the title of the track. And it's no different with the song "Come Closer".
Let's first examine how this song plays out. It is a Low-Key Anthem with a lot of Jittering Motion in it. This is juxtaposed to a background beat that is melancholy & sweet. Now let's look at the title again, "Come Closer". The Relationship should be Obvious, but let's examine just in case. The Background Beat represents the Peaceful Lover while the Stuttering Noises represent the Anxious Feelings of the Listener (some people call this "Having Butterflies In Your Stomach"). It's fearful, but it's also calm at the same time. And the Spanish Guitar that plays in between each minute (which I'll let you figure out where Dilla sampled that from) is a sweet sigh of release. This Beat perfectly represents how it feels to be intimate with a lover. But how come Jazz (particularly Cool Jazz) plays such a role in this beat.
Well let's look at how this song might sound like if it was a Classical Tune. I bet there are multiple Classical Songs that use the same setup of Excitement in Intimacy (and no, I'm not going to spend days worth of work trying to find the correct Classical Song). But if I had to guess, it would probably start off with a Warm Piano, representing the Feelings between our two new lovers. Then it would gently glide into some Violins, representing the Slow Excitement the two share. From here, we would hear some Percussion Music, representing the Pulse before the two go in for a kiss. Once the Kiss happens, we would hear some Horns, representing the Blossoming Soul the two of them now share. Some Chimes would come in, Representing the Gentle Bond the two now share. Finally the Piano would come in, representing the Warmth the two still feel.
Now that theoretical classical song (for as basic as it sounds) has a lot going for it. But what it doesn't have is a sense of Rhythm. You want to know why Rhythm is so important in Modern Music? Well, look how long that last paragraph was (with me trying to condense & simplify it as much as humanly possible). It takes forever to get to the basic idea of this Exciting Intimate Relationship. If you were at a Music Hall, you would have to listen to half of the song before you understood what it was about & were able to paint a picture in your mind.
Now let's look at how long it takes in "Come Closer" to get the idea. For me, it took 20 Seconds to figure out that this was about intimacy. And it only took me 50 Seconds (when the first Spanish Guitar Plays) to understand that this was about the listener cozying up to their lover. This is what Rhythm as a concept does best, it condenses time in a way that naturally matches with your pulse (in other words, it isn't awkward). And that is why every single song you've probably listened to in the past year uses Rhythm to it's advantage (or at least tries to). Let's quickly examine why.
Classical Music took a lot of time to establish Musical Notions because it was trying to paint a picture using sound. People used to believe that you had to hear the instruments for a long (or relatively long compared to our Music Now) period of time in order to understand the Flow of Nature & Time surrounding it. That is why in our theoretical Classical Song, we had to start with a Piano in order to showcase how our two lovers felt before they got intimate (you know, the point of the Symphony/Song).
Since Rhythm is a Representation of the Pulse, it has the great aspect of not having to represent Time & Nature. Our Pulse is Naturally based around Time already, we understand it on a basic human level. And because Rhythm is able to take away the need to paint the need of these two elements, all you need is a good Knowledge of Sound Design & Flow in order to create that same picture. The invention of Jazz was the invention of using Rhythm to showcase a Picture with Sound. And the result revolutionized the way Music was Perceived.
Back to J. Dilla, we see how his Low-Key Style take the sense of Rhythm into a more perspective light. This is a direct result of "Cool-Jazz", as the rhythm didn't take away from the need to focus on the Sounds that were sprinkled within. Most of Dilla's work won't make you want to Rush In a Dancing Craze. A lot of it won't even make you want to Bounce with the Groove. But you will always know that all of his Music will have some Rhythmic Perspective Inside.
And this sense of Rhythmic Perspective is why J. Dilla is the Greatest Hip-Hop Producer Of All Time. He doesn't focus on Catchiness. He doesn't focus on Flair. He doesn't focus on showcasing a certain style. He doesn't even focus on the Core Elements of Pop or Funk. He uses all of these elements, but they are never the focus. The Focus of J. Dilla's work is to showcase a theme inside a song using Rhythm to exemplify his thoughts. Sometimes he uses this thought process in entire albums, just like in Donuts.
Donuts wasn't just a clever word to match his work with the Fast-Food Loving Youth. It is a Metaphor For His Thought Process. Look at how it is spelled, Donuts. Or look at it this way Do------Not-----s. It is a representation of how we go through life, trying to decide if we should do something or not to do it. The U inside the Not represents where most of us end up, not doing anything with ourselves. J. Dilla was about to die before this album was released. He was trying to create an Album where it could determine where his reputation would lie. Would he stick around with the Nots and be forgotten to time. Or would he create something prolific, something that would make the world remember his legacy after he has passed. Would he be able to remove the U from Not.
Luckily for us, he achieved that goal. But the album as a whole has songs that represent Fear & Doubt. This shows he wasn't so sure where his representation would go in the end. Let's Explore some of them down below.
Workinonit (the first song) represents his fast & quick ethic to be the best. It's quick because he is in a state of panic. He knows the World moves Fast, and he doesn't know if he has time. He just has to keep working at it before it is too late.
The Song "Stop" comes right after "The New". This means Dilla found something New, but is hesitant in his ability to bring that idea forward (something I can certainly relate with).
The Song "Two Can Win" is a Wish-Fulfillment as the words "Only One Can Win" play on repeat. To me this represents his Friendship with Q-Tip. He knows that Q-Tip is going to still exist in the world after he passes away. He wants both him & his mentor to win. But he's afraid that Q-Tip will be remembered as the sole Innovator who brought this type of music to the forefront. This is why he keeps hearing the words "Only One CAN Win". This is what he was thinking as he was sitting in his Hospital Room, that Q-Tip would be the sole winner & Dilla would be forgotten. This is probably why the song "Don't Cry" comes right after this one.
The Song Gobstopper represents how much his life keeps sucking. A Gobstopper is a Candy that never goes away, that's why it is everlasting. The Song has a Downwards Spiral Motion towards it, a downwards spiral that never goes away.
Walkinonit represents what people saw once they walked inside his Hospital Room. Broken & Blue. Sick & Depressed.
The Factory (the song that comes right after Walkinonit) represents how he saw his role in the Music Industry. For him (in that state of mind at least) he feels like all he did was work in an Industrial Factory, surrounding himself with Executives & Rappers who only wanted his work, not his worth.
And finally our second to last song (the last song is a representation of his soul in Heaven) is a bitter-sweet tune. He is on his last breath, and he has seen both the Beauty and the Distress of His Life. He suffered through the worst part of his existence but is looking forward to what happens over the horizon. All he can do is Hope that he made an impact. Hope that he will be a person who did something with his life. This Bitter-Sweet Melody isn't just for us who loved Dilla, it is the Bitter-Sweet feeling he felt right as this album was released. He saw his accomplishments, he saw his worth, but he was afraid the world wouldn't see it.
Luckily for him, we did see it. I saw it & became inspired from it. Dilla is often seen as a God-Like Figure to those who want to become Hip-Hop Producers. But the funny thing is, he never wanted to be seen that way. From the way he constructs his Music, to the way he uses Flow in his tracks, J. Dilla was a Human Being. He put his humanity inside each of his songs. He used his knowledge of Sound to Paint Pictures of what he has gone through. And he uses Rhythm to showcase Themes that he dares you to explore. Not only is he the Greatest Producer of All Time, I don't know how he can be topped. But if there is one person who would like to be proven wrong, it would have been Dilla himself. Down below is my favorite beat of his, a song that you should play as you read the rest of this Article. It represents everything I love about this man's music.
This song was Produced in 2005, right before he passed away. But it doesn't feel that way to me. Instead, it feels like Dilla is looking down from the stars, telling us to stop Worshiping. Telling us to Stop believing in Idols & celebrating him for what he isn't. He even says it in the Title "It's Your World". Once upon a time the world was his, but that isn't how it should be anymore. We used this Article to Explore the Work of a Brilliant Producer. I hope it has taught you why he is so special to so many people. But I also believe that it would be a huge injustice to his legacy if we only sat around & celebrated him until the end of our own lives. Let's Learn from Dilla, and do something with our lives. Let's show him that we want to motivate those around us and make him proud. Let's use this moment to reflect on our own talents & explore the ways we can use them to expand the world around us. Let's take the Rhythm of Life & Use It For Nothing More Than Inspiration. That's what Dilla did and that's what I want to replicate. It's time to Stop Sticking with the Same Comfortable Routine. It's time to Expand ourselves, so that we can say we did something to positively affect our world. Don't use your life to be forgotten, instead become a Legend that will last through the ages.
Thank You For Reading My Article. If you enjoyed it, please share among friends & family. May you become Inspired & Learn More About The World Around You.