J Dilla Donuts

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Before his death, the markedly shy and perennially understated beatmaker (and occasional MC) J Dilla crafted killer drum-and-sample palettes for the best of the best; De La Soul, Common, and Busta have all worked lyrics over his magically sludgy beats. However, the true genius of this beatsmith shone through not on glossed-up radio edits with MCs spitting all over them, but on his own instrumentals, when nary a word-save for the odd Dionne Warwick sample ("Walkinonit")-was laid overtop. Donuts contains 30-odd loops that rarely exceed two minutes in length (made during a lengthy hospital stay in Los Angeles), and it showcases Dilla's immense prowess with an MPC, tone arms, and a basement full of dusty grooves. Check the wacked-out Raymond Scott grab of a Bendix ad on "Lightworks" or the high-speed-chase aesthetic of "Workinonit," and you'll agree that few MCs' vocals could top the highs achieved here.