Jay Dee aka J Dilla, Ruff Draft

Amelia Raitt

By Amelia Raitt

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Stones Throw continues its J Dilla memorial project by releasing this, a previously little-known vinyl-only album that Dilla put out in 2003 on his own label. On it, you can begin to hear the blossoming of the sound that would make up both Champion Sound (his collaboration with Jaylib) and 2006's Donuts: a ruffer, more grab-bag approach to production. Before, Dilla had catered to rappers that flowed over his work (including hip-hop luminaries such as A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul); Ruff Draft is Dilla finally making something for himself. As such, we get a variety of treasures, including (but not limited to) subaquatic hair metal (“Nothing Like This”), Dr. Who keyboards (“Interlude”) and incidental music for ’70s cop shows (“Take Notice”).