Album Review: Jay Stay Paid

I’m guessing you’ve already heard the back story on the latest, posthumous release from Jay Dilla, Jay Stay Paid, but just in case…

The late hip-hop artist extraordinaire James Dewitt Yancey (aka Jay Dilla aka Jay Dee) has a new CD out, produced by his mother, Maureen Yancey, and his hero, Pete Rock. The two salvaged untold hours of unreleased beats by the genius to put the project together. The conceit is simple, playing out like a radio show, over both beats and radio clips from the past several years. Artists such as DOOM, Black Thought and Raekwon do guest duty.

What’s most amazing about the project is how organic and fresh this thing sounds. There’s no dust on these tracks whatsoever. Of course, that was always the beauty of Dilla’s work. To describe his work is nearly beyond my humble abilities, coming across as some kind of futuristic Space Cowboy Ninja Pimp soundtrack with enough old school tastiness to make you want to smack your momma, as I believe the saying goes. (Don’t ask where I get my sayings.)

While the instrumental tracks are truly amazing, the vocal appearances are just as incredible, if not more so. This is all the more amazing to me, as no one has any idea what Jay Dee had intended with these samples, yet these artists found more than enough material to create some off-the-chain rhymes to accompany the beats.

Sure, this thing is a labor of love, but the genius shines through nonetheless. As beloved a member of the hip-hop community as J. Dilla was, it would have been forgivable if this was a “mail it in” project. Thankfully for the listeners, this project is worthy of his best work ever. As the man allegedly left more stuff behind than Prince has in his own vaults and as well as this turned out, I’m a bit pumped to see what comes next from Jay Dee’s estate.
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