Listening Party: J Dilla’s Donuts

10 years ago last Sunday, producer’s producer J Dilla – born James Dewitt Yancey – released his swan song, Donuts. If you’re at all plugged into the music blogosphere, you may have heard a thing or two about this anniversary. A triumph of analog and the art of sampling, Donuts has been categorized posthumously as Yancey’s masterpiece (a lofty distinction for an artist whose production credits include songs for A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde and Common). That Yancey recorded the album from a hospital bed and passed away three days after its…

Bestsellers 2014 – Dilla is #1

DILLA

As 2014 draws to a close there are lots of lists floating around. The best album, the best song, the best restaurant, the best photo, the best moments…and here at 33 1/3 we had a wonderful year of bests. We saw the publication of FOURTEEN 33 1/3 volumes! #89 Andrew W.K.’s I Get Wet through #103 Hole’s Live Through This. We celebrated our 10th anniversary with our 100th volume! We released a complete set of all 100 books on our site for only $1,000!!!!! We held an open call for…

33 Things: April Edition

Every month, 33 1/3 editorial assistant Kaitlin Fontana will compile the best, weirdest, most interesting music and sound news from the past 30 days and serve it up to you in one handy, easy to digest list. May we present 33 Things that happened in April? Where the hell did April go? We don’t know either. But some stuff happened in it. 33 stuffs, actually. 1.    Courtney Love is about to release a new album, and this song is UNREAL. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=316ZjRu-UEM?rel=0] 2.    Avril Lavigne is about to release a…

Dilla Week: Video Vault, Episode 26

We wrap up Dilla Week, in celebration of #93 in the 33 1/3 series, J Dilla’s Donuts by Jordan Ferguson (out now!), with our perennial favorite feature: the video vault. Enjoy, and thanks to Jordan for his hard and thoughtful work! Deciding on a video to wrap up Donuts week proved more difficult than I was expecting. I wanted to hand the spotlight to the man himself, but considering the nature of the album and the circumstances of its creation, there aren’t any official videos or live footage of its…

Dilla Week: Dilla’s Still Here

Welcome back to Dilla Week, in celebration of #93 in the 33 1/3 series, J Dilla’s Donuts by Jordan Ferguson (out now!). Today, Jordan speaks to the enormous staying power of Dilla’s work, long after the man himself is gone. One of the things that continues to amaze me about J Dilla (and there are many) is that for a man who passed away over eight years ago, his influence is felt as much today as it was when he was alive, if not more. His aesthetic can be heard…

Dilla Week: Dilla Taught Me

Welcome back to Dilla Week, in celebration of #93 in the 33 1/3 series, J Dilla’s Donuts by Jordan Ferguson (out now!). Today, Jordan talks about lessons in life and music courtesy James Yancey. In my experience, there are two types of hip-hop fans: one type appreciates the music as it is, and is content to enjoy it on its own merits; the other feels compelled to dig into the workings of the music, to discover the sample sources and investigate how DJs and producers have used them to create…

Dilla Week: Best vs. Most Interesting

Welcome to Dilla Week, in celebration of #93 in the 33 1/3 series, J Dilla’s Donuts by Jordan Ferguson (out now!). We rejoin our author in his thoughts on “best” vs. “most interesting” when it comes to Dilla. Donuts is not J Dilla’s best work. “Blasphemy!” you scream. “How can you say that?! You wrote an entire book on this album! You listened to it literally hundreds of times!” Yes, I did. I continue to listen to it happily. I wanted to write about it because I find it his…

Dilla Week: Authority

Welcome to Dilla Week, in celebration of #93 in the 33 1/3 series, J Dilla’s Donuts by Jordan Ferguson (out now!). In the first of five posts, Ferguson addresses questions of authorial authority and the considerable legacy of Dilla’s life and work. How does “Jordan Ferguson” have the credentials to write this? Just curious. – Comment posted to the J Dilla Facebook page, March 13, 2014. I can’t fault the guy for asking the question. Fans are notoriously protective of J Dilla’s legacy, and had I been in his position…

De La Dilla

We asked our delightful 33 1/3 Intern Danny to write about something in the music realm he felt passionate about, and he thoroughly schooled us on De La Soul. Enjoy! De La Soul is enjoying a fruitful 2014. Last month, the ever-creative Strong Island trio celebrated the 25th anniversary of their classic album 3 Feet High and Rising by making their entire catalog – including remixes, instrumentals, rare photos, and other goodies – available for free download during a swift twenty-five hour period. This month, we get two new mixtapes,…