Who knew so many people would object to Charles Hamilton naming J Dilla executive producer of his album, even though he obviously never had anything to do with Dilla?
When I read about the tracklisting and the production credits for the album here the other day, I didn’t think anything of it. I chuckled a bit when I saw that Dilla was listed as executive producer, but, as cynical as I usually am, it didn’t occur to me that this might have been his attempt to curry favor with the underground set. My mind just didn’t go there, for whatever reason. Crazy as it sounds, I thought this may have been a genuine attempt to help Dilla’s poor mother pay for her lupus medicine. I mean, how many people were really gonna run out and cop a Charles Hamilton album, just because it’s got Dilla’s name on it?
Plus, I wasn’t sure if all of that album information wasn’t just an elaborate hoax anyway. Maybe Charles Hamilton didn’t just pull all of that shit out of his ass, for shits and giggles on a Monday afternoon, but you have to wonder if any of it was approved by Interscope. Take for example the album cover, with two adult gorillae and a couple of babies - the female adult looks just like the male, but with a pearl necklace and some lipstick. Which is just wrong on so many levels. And anyway, doesn’t Interscope have a policy in which rap album covers have to feature the artists with their shirts off – unless it’s MIA, in which case you might actually want to see her with her shirt off?
Then there’s the songs themselves, which have a lot of weird samples. One song has a sample of “Street Player” by Chicago, and the next song has a sample of the mighty “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne (or is it Susan?) Vega, which I thought may have been some sort of ironic nod to MTV’s The Grind. But I’m not sure if Charles Hamilton goes that deep with it, though I see there is a song with a PJ Harvey sample. Impressive. I always thought young black kids would appreciate PJ Harvey. Next important breakthrough to look out for: the day someone from the beta male rap set discovers Brighten the Corners by Pavement. Mark my words.
But I digress. Now, where was I? Ah yes, Charles Hamilton running afoul of Dilla’s corpse. No Boutros.
Sonic must not have consulted with anyone involved with the Dilla estate. I don’t mean to suggest that he wasn’t planning on giving Ma Dukes Yancey (it’s hard even typing that) a point on the album, or whatever he was planning on giving her; but this guy House Shoes, Dilla’s AZT carrier (my bad), checked with her, and, like most people, she’d never heard of Charles Hamilton. Which would lend credence to the theory that he didn’t consult with the TIs before he up and decided to list Dilla as executive producer. What if Ma Dukes, or whoever’s in charge of Dilla’s name and likeness, wouldn’t have approved, perhaps because they don’t want to sully the Dilla brand, if the album turns out to be a buncha bullshit? Like I said, “Street Player” and “Tom’s Diner.”
So Charles Hamilton probably played himself, in listing J Dilla as his executive producer, without even bothering to check and see if he was allowed to. Then of course he didn’t do himself any favors, in coming to his own defense. I missed the initial debate on Twitter the other day – I saw Sonic firing @replies at people, and ordering mofos to send him their phone numbers, because if you can’t say something to someone over the phone, you’re a pussy. (Which is a new one, as far as I know. I might have to check with eskay.) But I didn’t bother to dig too deep into it. I figured it may have been people clowning him for the bizarre album information, as well as any number of other things, like his would be baby’s mother punching him in the mouth, him stealing that beat from Black Spade, so on and so forth.
You can never be too sure why someone is mocking Charles Hamilton, you just know he’s always gonna be the butt of a joke.
When I read the interview with him at AllHipHop yesterday, he had me thinking Dilla may have somehow actually worked on the album. Dilla’s been dead for a couple of years now, and I’ve only been familiar with Charles Hamilton for maybe like a year, but who knows? There was that album Sonic supposedly recorded way back when he was in high school, even though he’s only like 21. Maybe he did once get some advice from Dilla on how to make digital recordings sound as if they were vinyl, or whatever the fuck he was talking about. Sonic started talking about how Dilla really did indeed work on the album, and people shouldn’t talk, if they don’t know his family’s relationship with the Yancey family, and he honestly had me believing him. Then he came out the side of his neck with some shit about the paranormal, and conducting a seance. Lollerskates.
At this point, who knows whether or not Dilla will remain listed as executive producer, or if Interscope will even bother releasing the album at all, for that matter. It seems like every other day now Charles Hamilton gets himself into another PR kerfuffle. I don’t know if all of the heroin he’s on has made him genuinely crazy, or if he just needs someone other than Mary J. Blige’s violent emo stepdaughter to help him make a good decision, or what. But Ma Dukes Yancey might want to have Dilla’s name removed just in case, regardless of whether or not the album is any good.