Sunday, 19 February 2012

Busta Rhymes & J-Dilla - The Collection

Over the course of his (almost) 20 year career, Busta Rhymes has managed to stick close to a lot of his guns. Sure, in recent times he has been known to pursue a quick payday with a guest spot here for Tiesto, or a guest spot there for the Pussycat Dolls, and he has always had at least one track on his solo albums that have chased that elusive pop chart topper.

But one thing you have to respect about the man is that regardless of these temporary pursuits, he has been working with largely the same group of producers for most of his career. DJ Scratch has been on practically everything Busta has released in one way or another. Spliff Star has been surgically attached to his hip for 15 years, and no-one even knows what he does yet. Q-Tip invited him in to star on an ATCQ song in 1991 and they've been working together off and on ever since.

And then there's Jay Dee. Dilla.

Largely regarded as one of our generation's best ever producers, Dilla has been a mainstay of Busta's discography. Most of the tracks they've done together have nestled into his albums silently, often hidden deep in the middle of an album and never a single to be released. However, despite this, these are the very tracks that, for me, have became the bedrock of a Busta Rhymes album. The songs that make the albums worthwhile for repeated listens, even in some cases more than a decade later.

Ever since Busta starred on '1, 2 Shit' by A Tribe Called Quest over a Jay Dee/Ummah beat, the two have worked together in some form on most of his albums, with only 'Extinction Level Event' in 1998 and 'Back On My B.S.' in 2009 of his 8 full studio albums released without at least one burst of James Yancey's talent.

As Busta has been known for a lot of songs, but rarely his Dilla ones, and Dilla has been largely attributed to a huge amount of influence in music, but his Busta Rhymes beats are often overlooked, I've decided to immortalise their work together on one album to showcase just how brilliant a pairing they were.

A Jay Dee beat brought out the incredible character in Bus-A-Buss and that infectious personality surely affected Dilla enough to reciprocate with exciting, entertaining and creative beats.

There's the simple boom-bap of 'So Hardcore', the laid back bounce on 'Show Me What You Got', and the futuristic echoes of 'Make It Hurt' amongst so many other genuinely great great songs.

Recorded over a period of a decade, this is a home-made Northern Author collection I've listened to many a time as a playlist, and it's time I share it with the world.

They did in fact release a mixtape together entitled 'Dillagence' in the mid-2000s the year after Jay Dee passed away, but despite it's great intentions, that mixtape never truly did their working relationship any justice.

Obviously, it goes without saying that you should own these records already, and if not, I can't stress enough why you should. The artists deserve their payola for making the music that ultimately can shape our lives and that sentiment is never more correct than when dealing with true greats. Show respect for one of rap's true greats in Busta Rhymes, and his extraordinary work with one of the greatest producers of all time, Mr James Yancey AKA Jay Dee. Happy Dilla Month.

1. Still Shining
2. It Ain't Safe No More (feat. Meka)
3. Enjoy Da Ride
4. Turn Me Up Some
5. Genesis
6. So Hardcore
7. Ill Vibe (Jay Dee Remix)
8. It's A Party (feat Zhane) (Ummah Remix)
9. Woo-Hah (Got You All In Check) (Jay Dee Bounce Mix)
10. Show Me What You Got
11. Keep It Movin' (feat. Charlie Brown, Dinco D & Milo In De Dance)
12. What Up
13. Live It Up
14. Woo-Hah (Jay Dee Other Shit Remix)
15. Make It Hurt
16. You Can't Hold The Torch (feat. Q-Tip & Chauncey Black)