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Ok so i’ve started a blog about the beat tape/album “DONUTS” made by the late great J Dilla. This blog is more about the idea that Dillas last beat tape was a goodbye letter and carries much more significant meaning than just samples matched to tempos for emcees and rappers to spit to. The whole album is laced with spooky vocal stabs and sample selection that fill each track with subliminal messaging. The messages give meaning to each song despite not having any lyrics. In my bullet points below I’m going to break down donuts track by track the best I can.
first let me start by saying real authentic donuts do not have a long shelf life, i don’t like day old donuts. hence the name donuts and the ad rock sample of him saying its the new style. also the whole hidden message part is about the samples picked out for the songs, i make beats everyday trust me the sample choice is important for a beat tape like this!!!
1) Donuts (Outro). 1st of all, the track is called outro and its the intro, as if this album was the end, this is the outro. Dilla uses his classic j dilla tag scratching and punching it in. Dilla sampled the song from an artist named Shuggie Otis the song is called “Not Available”. I think he was suggesting with the outro that he wouldn’t be available for long. The song also end quick and is called Donuts. i think this was his way of explaining the donut metaphor with out using words.
shuggie otis v
2) WORKINGONIT. Workingonit starts with dillas classic siren, originally sampled from the “mantronix king of the beats” album. The siren i think, acts as a warning or distress call. Warning everyone not to take life for granted. The track also has stab cuts from ad rock saying “center stage on the mic” which i think is dillas ego shining through even admidst all the distress. The song continues to say working on it, which dilla always was. I think the song is a dedication to his hard work ethic & large collection of productions, that was until the vocal cuts came in asking me, and the listener at home to “play me, buy me, save me”. it seems he was worrying about his legacy as a musician, producer, and man. The sample he used for the break was from the group 10cc from the song “The Worst Band In The World”. I feel like jay used the sample to say fuck off the the critics who didn’t like his strange steal sample and flip it style that he has in the album. That Jay was content being raw. Also the whole song/sample talks about being in the music business traveling, touring, and reflecting, that all thats left “is just a little piece of plastic with a hole” suggesting that the only reason why we do this is for the legacy of our art preserving it on a little ol’ record. This track is a good way to start the album.
10 cc - The Worst Band In The World
3) Waves. On the track “Waves” Jay samples 10CC song entitled “Johnny, don’t do it” the vocal samples loops saying “hey Johnny” The track begins with the sample saying “LETS GO” which dilla seems to use in songs through out the album where Jay feels fed up and wants to give up, and just pass on. The song Johnny don’t do it, is about a young angle dressed in black who does dangerous stunts to get attention, till one day he’s racing and gets hit by a truck. The song concludes with “Johnny” as angle reflecting on the news reports and family. I honestly think this song is a struggle with suicide, telling him self not to do it. btw way james jack and john are all technically the same name.
4) Light My Fire. Is short, and i think its an outro to waves in case you couldn’t read in-between the lines on waves. Jay takes the sample from the group Africa. I think Dilla was trying to say he was the “black jim morrison” (-=. Jay dieing far before he should have, as he passes on as one of the world most popular visionaries, so did Jim (not to mention they’re both named James). I honestly think when JD chose the stab “light my fire” J meant he just wanted to get it over with because of the struggles he was facing, especially seeing as how the whole beat is laced with samples of someone in the back ground sounding like he was acceptant of his situation and sarcastically asking someone if he “could just get it over with and to get on with it?”
5) The New. Is J Dilla saying, this is the new batch of beat tapes. Jay had made a lot of beat tapes in his day. I think it’s also his ode’ to the D seeing as how the sample is from Detroit Emeralds, the song is called “Whatcha Gonna Wear Tomorrow”. the songs about being fresh and clean with new clothes, and Dilla liked to be fresh. Ok here comes the creepy part, the end of ”Whatcha Gonna Wear Tomorrow” the song ask “what will wear tomorrow perhaps a shirt and tie will it be the one i saw you with when you thought you had to die” the song then precedes to suggest that he wishes he was walking around and feeling good/strong. Dilla was confined to a wheel chair for a lot of the end of his life. Dilla had sampled a song about coping with dieing instead of sampling a song about about death.
AND IF YOU KNOW DONUTS YOU KNOW WHAT SONG HE CHOSE NEXT!!!!!!!! )-= ILL HAVE THE OTHER 5 SONGS NEXT WEEK! THANKS FOR READING AND CARING ENOUGH TO BETTER UNDERSTAND DILLA