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J Dilla
The Shining

JDilla.jpgKnown for his crisp snares and flavorful melodies, J Dilla carved out his own niche in the hip-hop landscape by crafting hits for everyone from De La Soul to Busta Rhymes. So the Detroit beatsmith’s death this past February left a void that can’t be easily filled. But mournful fans can find solace in Dilla’s soulful swan song The Shining, which commemorates his musical genius by juxtaposing lush loops with formidable flows.

The Motown maestro sets the mood with the high-powered “Love,” where anxious strings and horns back Pharoahe Monch’s lyrical assault. Then he provides Common and D’Angelo with the watery drums and hypnotizing piano chords for their heartfelt ballad “So Far to Go.” After playing the back, Dilla decides to show off his mic skills on the Madlib- and Guilty Simpson–featured “Baby,” as he spits, “Here come them boys with the chains on their necks/Every five minutes, we untanglin’ them/It’s Pay-J/Make sure the name’s on the check.”

While Jay Dee continues to successfully flex his lyrical muscle on the dreamy “Won’t Do,” his best work still remains behind the boards. The gifted Midwesterner flips eerie synths and moody bass on the instrumental cut “Over the Breaks,” while the knockin’ drums of “E=MC2” help Common refind his sense of direction (“I admit that I got strange/But I was raised/I was like the Eiffel/Leanin’ through life’s cycle”).

One of the album’s few flaws is the colorless “Jungle Love.” Dilla’s production work here is too bare bones to carry MED and Guilty Simpson’s meaty bars. And although sonically sound, Dwele’s tender “Dime Piece (Remix)” seems a bit out of place amid the boomin’ beats and tough rhymes. But overall, The Shining still manages to hit its mark in displaying Dilla’s penchant for precise production. Black Thought says it best on the snappy “Love Movin’,” as he spits, “My man Dilla do it without even tryin’/The greatest hip-hop producer of all time.” —WILL DUKES

  • AirlineGeneral

    1st niggas, I would like to hear that album

  • rip

    e=mc2 is awsome, and the last song “wont do” is really good…. anyways excellent review, RIP JDILLA

  • http://xxlmag.com SUPER313

    RIP JAY DILLA
    YOU HAVE MADE A HUGE SOULFUL IMPACT
    ON DETROIT

  • 21sick

    r.i.p.
    one of the best to ever touch an mpc. i can’t wait to hear this album.

  • jus

    RIP JAY DILLA
    it hits me hard cuz my brother got that shit that jay died from..

  • H-man

    Detroit is da Renisance City…JDilla more than did his thang…Only GOD knows why the good die young???? Go cop this CD, JDilla (The Shining) alot of feeling in his muzik

  • Lawrence

    i hope they let this man r.i.p. and dont do what they did to pac and now b.i.g. make bullshit albums outta classic material…good review

  • johnny rebel

    i’ve always said this and i always will…dilla is the greatest.

  • ILLEASTMC

    HOW COULD YALL NOT GIVE J.DILLA A “XXL”, I MEAN HOW NICER DOES A ALBUM HAVE TO BE???? YA BUGGIN ON THIS ONE. ’1′

  • Vindi

    I am copping this on release i’m a big slum village/j dilla fan, this guy will never get the recognition he deserves mainstream but we appreciate

    http://www.soundclick.com/se23sfinest

  • Raleigh

    The Grandfather, simply the best ever if you really listen to music.It makes me sick to my stomach that this god didnt get his deserved recognition.But real heads Know. The biggest lost in hiphop history in my opinion. Also the cats that try to carry his name and have been holding the torch that dont get proper recognition like Pete rock, DJ Premier,Roots,Little Brother,Commom.

  • dipset bitch

    WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET A XXL ON THIS SITE THEY GAVE SHAWWNNA’S WACK ASS SHIT CD THE SAME RATING AS THIS BULLSHIT
    GOOD REVIEW
    R.I.P. J DILLA

  • LA KING

    R.I.P J DILLA

  • dlr

    1 month i hear this….
    inbeliveable!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i miss you dilla…
    nobody can touch my soul like your music…
    thanks for all the love u bring for the hip hop…
    i hope 1 day the hip hop mouvment bring u back…
    one…
    ps thanks quest and all the detroit movment

    hip hop head from paris (france)

  • The Advocate

    I never heard J Dilla before but I guess I’m going to take a listen now. I can’t sleep on this album. I’ve got to get recognized.

  • trinity 1906

    dilla dilla, will be missed. i hope baatin will get him self together for an sv reunion… what up with the rating.. yall suck… this is the best shit of the year nigga… next to busta, roots,common,little brother, strange fruit, talib, mos def, delasoul,tribe, ….this is real hip hop… wake the fuck up!!! get familiar bitches… im rick jamesssss.. much love from st. louis

  • Mighty Dilla

    RIP Dilla… Everybody loves you

    “My man Dilla do it without even tryin’/The greatest hip-hop producer of all time.” – Black Thought

    And it’s god damn true… But Dilla has more music in his pocket so just wait, his music will drop later!

  • Pingback: » still shining

  • http://xxl abiku

    R.I.P Dilla. In my life you’ve made a mark. i’m just pissed that you didn’t get the shine you deserved. Common never sucked you dick to get a classic. if you were DRE, motherfucker will still be talking about how great you were. But you iller than that. Your spirit will live through me. The only producers close to you are me(ABIKU) from Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and Dimlite.

  • rob

    it’s funny when someone says thay haven’t heard of jay dee. what the fuck have you been doing with your life? i feel sorry for all you fags. oh well, better late than never i guess. ‘E=mc2′ is disgusting and that “we must be in love” sample is killin’ it. late.

  • http://myspace.com/delgodostrangelove Delgodo

    Yeah everyone is quick to say his name now that he is gone to gain hip-hop cool points.
    where were yall at when he was first putting it down ?Jocking Dr. Dre don’t lie!
    http://www.myspace.com/outabodies

  • http://frankndank.com dank

    1love xxl…. thank you 4 the love 4 …..j dilla my nigga and my fam… snice 1984…detroit dank/frankndank…….”cakeboys”

  • http://frankndank.com dank

    ……frankndank.com ………………www.myspace/ frankndank……album out now world wide…lets go

  • http://www.myspace.com/purplesomehousemusick IZREEL DALI

    DILLA LIVES ON!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://56341374 hixActinc

    May be im a mourner may be i deserve to do something else.
    Need to feel the sense.