Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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J. Dilla

  • Donuts [Stones Throw, 2006] ***
  • Jay Stay Paid [AntAcidAudio, 2009] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Donuts [Stones Throw, 2006]
More about moments than flow, which is strange when you think about it ("Workinonit," "Lightworks"). ***

Jay Stay Paid [AntAcidAudio, 2009]
Where the genius loops a dying Dilla strung together on Donuts are a kind of chain necklace, Pete Rock weaves these legacy beats into something more ropelike--a lanyard, say. Since both records are more abstract than their cheering sections understand, the many voices Rock enlists make a difference. From Doom and Black Thought down to Phat Kat and Frank Nitty, they ground Dilla's beats where, for instance, the finished singles collected on Rapster's Dillanthology comp put them in the background where any pro knows they belong. The result is less a mixtape than a hip-hop version of a good Augustus Pablo album--more varied, jocular, and disquieting because that's how hip-hop is, but still a single organism. B+