You don’t have to wipe your feet before you enter into this first release from BBE’s Beat Generation series, because this house of productions on Jay Dee’s LP is as grimy as you’ll have ever heard this prolific Hip-Hop and R&B beat technician. Not at all tamed by his outside field trip assignments such as Tribe’s last two albums, Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun, Guru’s Jazzamatazz 3, Common’s last LP and Q-Tip’s boogie-woogie solo disaster. This time, on this Jay Dee project, he is totally in control and free-spirited in his hardcore approach when holding the mic and the boards down. However, sometimes total freedom isn’t what one can always handle in style and the grace you’re accustomed to hearing, so Jay Dee actually believes he can rap. On “Ya’ll Ain’t Ready”, a boastful snippet of his overzealous mic-skills that unfortunately isn’t the last, Jay Dilla as he affectionately refers to himself can NOT be taken seriously as a rapper or lyricist. Even though he still threatens, “I’m from where you slippin’ if you ain’t carrying shit” or “If I pull out, then I shoot my thing!” Similar to Slum Village’s Fantastic Vol. 2 album, everyone knows the highlight of anything with Jay Dee’s name attached to it, is the jazzy and soul-filled grooves he provides. And luckily it’s here as well.
On “Think Twice” your head will stop spinning if you had a headache or if you’re already high, the manner in which this instrumental glides retro-style symptoms from Donald Byrd’s work and then gently crashes into an easing bass line from “Looking at the Front Door” by Main Source, it’s proof that by this, music is the ultimate intoxicant, hallucinogen or herb. Having trouble getting past this? Skip quickly to tracks titled “B.B.E. (Big Booty Express)”, “Brazilian Groove,” “African Rhythm” or “Rico Suave Bossa Nova,” all instrumental revamps of classic influences from his non-Hip Hop crates of vinyl samples. Now it’s back to Jay Dee’s vocal chords on “The Clapper” featuring rapper Blu, a simplistic beat-and-bass only track which highlights the inner city fury from Blu’s racing lyrics. Detroit really starts to seem like an interesting city as soon as lyricist Elzhi on “Come Get It” commences. Backed by a bouncy blend of Jay Dee’s signature samples of soul, El’s lines tell no lie: “Step in the concrete jungle, I bust you ’til you see doubles/ Then watch all four of me reach for you / The heat bubble, ready to cock back/I’m aiming shots at any nigga, I even got midgets with triggers hitting the side of top hats!” Attention is actually distracted away from Jay Dee’s production a little on other songs with a showcase of Detroit’s brew of lyricists on “Pause” featuring the duo of Frank N Dank, “Beej-N-Dem Pt. 2″ featuring Beej, the self explanatory “Featuring Phat Cat” and “It’s Like That” with Hodge Podge, actually the most brilliant of the guest appearances by far. All accompanied by neck-snapping, pushy beats that crews gather to do mischief to, these lyrical contributions definitely make this album a blueprint copy for the world to maybe focus their telescopes on Detroit as another city in this metropolis-driven industry of Hip Hop.
When an inner-city ghetto child gathers his production tools of Oscillator, SP-1200, MP-3000 and a handful of musicians on keyboards or with some other vibe-like instruments, there’s no telling what the inspiration for re-freaking rare grooves like “Trans-Europe Express” by Kraftwerk or and others by Earth Wind & Fire might have been. Imagination into a heavenly environment as opposed to the ghetto? Sure sounds like it! No matter how many doubt these techniques from Jay Dee as an art, it’s still music, talent and certainly still creativity in process.
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