By: Carlos Lima-Lopez
I can never really find the words; it’s been ten years since De La Soul released a new record and eight years since the G.O.A.T. of beats, J Dilla, has left us. It feels like yesterday since I first encountered De La’s The Grind Date and read about Dilla’s passing, but so much time has passed.
I bring these two artists up because they both had such an undeniable chemistry. Looking back on De La’s earlier stuff, it’s apparent that much like Common, Busta Rhymes, and Dilla’s other frequent collaborators, he gave the trio some of my favorite numbers; “Thru Ya City,” “Verbal Clap,” and “Stakes is High” were undeniable proof that these cats really got the boogie going.
Now with the release of De La Soul’s new mixtape, Smell The D.A.I.S.Y, featuring several unheard material and some familiar work from Dilla, it’s nice to have a reminder of why they always have me banging my head. It’s also a reminder of two things that are close to me.
For starters, you will get down to this ish. There are a lot of beats from Jay Stay Paid and his hard to find beat tapes with some familiar verses as well as some new ones over his jawns. I mean, damn! Hearing the crew rhyme of Dilla’s “Body Movin” with a solid bassline from Marvin Jaye is completely bonkers. Then there’s “Goes With The Word,” which harkens to Dilla’s influence Neo Soul sound in the late 90’s. It has a guitar riff with delay that just sounds damn funky and pretty.
The other reminder is how much the Hip-Hop community dearly misses Dilla, and De La Soul no doubt makes that point directly. His music will always be a reminder of how Hip-Hop is continually evolving from his sound. He will always forever be that dude; his music often soulful, brash, playful, experimental–how many Hip-Hop producers can include so many different adjectives to describe their music?
This mixtape is no doubt a morsel that will keep fans fed until De La Soul releases a new album sometime this year. Regardless of that fact, I really liked being reminded of the craftsmanship and camaraderie between De La Soul and J Dilla; sort of like viewing the rain as beautiful. It’s always there, much like Dilla’s presence today.