J Dilla – “Anthem”

J Dilla - Anthem

In Endless Playlist, Treble’s staff helps you stock your own playlists by highlighting the best new tracks to come across our desks, laptops and ipods each week.

Few artists have made more waves posthumously than J Dilla. Now, his own label, PayJay, has been revived by his family and estate and is releasing an album consisting of Jay Dee rapping over production contributions from Madlib, Pete Rock, Nottz, House Shoes, Karriem Riggins and others. Highlighting the early-2000s recordings is “Anthem,” the lead single, one of the cuts which Dilla produced himself. The immediacy and timeless feel of the production are signatures of Jay Dee’s work from that time, and while the production is tame and pop-sounding compared to anything from Donuts or Jay Stay Paid, Jay Dee’s sometimes-lamented rapping ability takes to the stage and steals the show. Admittedly, he could never be a Ghostface-like storyteller and he rarely cuts against the rhythmic grain, but the hook is just as infectious as the beat and he plays with the accents of his rhymes enough to keep it interesting. Put it together and it’s a fundamentally sound, solid Dilla track — which makes it one of the best hip hop tracks to come across the airwaves yet this year.

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