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J Dilla's Donuts From a Los Angeles hospital bed, equipped with little than a laptop and a stack of records, James J Dilla Yancey crafted a set of tracks that would forever change the way beatmakers viewed their artform The songs on Donuts are not hip hop music as hip hop music is typically defined they careen and crash into each other, in one moment noisy and abrasive, gorgeous and heartbreaking the next The samples and melodies tell the story of a man coming to terms with his declining health, a final love letter to the family and friends he was leaving behind As a prolific producer with a voracious appetite for the history and mechanics of the music he loved, J Dilla knew the records that went into constructing Donuts inside and out He could have taken them all and made a much different, accessible album If the widely accepted view is that his final work is a record about dying, the question becomes why did he make this record about dying Drawing from philosophy, critical theory and musicology, as well as Dilla s own musical catalogue, Jordan Ferguson shows that the contradictory, irascible and confrontational music found on Donuts is as much a result of an artist s declining health as it is an example of what scholars call late style, placing the album in a musical tradition that stretches back centuries

About the Author: Jordan Ferguson

Jordan Ferguson is a freelance culture writer He is the author of the bestselling 33 1 3 Album Guide on J Dilla s Donuts , an animated manga for the Red Bull Music Academy with Yuko Ichijo and contributes regularly to The Same Page.Originally from Windsor, Ontario, he currently lives and works in Toronto.

10 thoughts on “J Dilla's Donuts

  1. says:

    J Dilla is everything I love about hip hop Donuts is his gift to the hip hop community, who ll be rapping over this for years Dilla reminds us anyone with a thorough knowledge of black American music in the 20th century has a great education in music A golden age, which hip hop, by recognising and celebrating it as such, manages to repurpose and perpetuate Donuts is a genius curation 1 2

  2. says:

    You can learn a bit of history of Detroit hip hop, and a bit about J Dilla s history, but that s about it Most of this book is an exercise in intellectual self gratification, using the Donuts album as fodder Lots of pages that try to draw from philosophy, literature, psychology, and other fields in an attempt to explain Dilla s work The author spends an entire chapter writing about himself, as he

  3. says:

    The 33 1 3 books have always struck me as a brilliant idea with somewhat spotty execution The books generally follow the same formula analyzing a seminal album in 100 200 pages of insight, interpretations, and or the historical context of the work Each book is penned by a different author with a different approach, so naturally there is considerable variation in quality As someone who really likes to dig

  4. says:

    An interesting read for any hip hop fan Jordan Ferguson does a good job of recalling the life of arguably the most iconic person in hip hop s most iconic album As a Dilla fan, I appreciate some of the insight on his life and the things that he did for the music industry I d recommend to any audiophile.

  5. says:

    I love Donuts I think it s an incredibly inspired and emotional album with sentiment and pure feeling throughout you live the situation Dilla was in through this album.I went into this hoping for background and analysis surrounding the album mostly Whilst a decent portion of the end focuses on Donuts it is mostly about Dilla s trajectory and career as a producer interjected with philosophical quotes by the author someti

  6. says:

    Being a Dilla fan for the past 5 years, I found this book whilst looking for memorabilia, a few weeks before Dilla day 2019 Feb 10th.I blitzed through this book in a matter of hours, finding it difficult to put down Jordan Ferguson does Dilla justice with this in depth analysis of Donuts, as well as providing itself as an extended obituary of sorts So much background information of the Detroit music scene, Dilla s rise to one o

  7. says:

    It was most appropriate reading Jordan Ferguson s Donuts back to back with this series release about Miles Davis Bitches Brew , as both albums deal in part with the cross genre classification of Musique concr te , but obviously from two different and noteworthy angles Donuts became one of my favourite books in this series, but like all musical inclinations, there is probably a very subjective reason for this that at this moment I am un

  8. says:

    This is not the book I expected Though, honestly, I don t quite know what I expected.My favorite part about the 33 1 3 series is that each one is so drastically different that it s hard to get a bead on how the series will work.This one focuses quite a bit on the general context and history of the artist J Dilla, aka Jay Dee That, of course, wraps up much of it with the history of modern hip hop, which was perfect for me I recently finished HI

  9. says:

    somewhat surprisingly, given my propensity towards arcane trivia about the music i love, this is the first 33 1 3 book i ve actually read, despite being aware of the series for some time now the simple, defining factor of the series is that anyone can submit a proposal all you need to show is that you have the knowledge and critical skill to deal with a great piece of music and, obviously, as a result all the books are written by different people all

  10. says:

    Hopefully, this will be the first of many books to celebrate and discuss this album.For anyone who is not familiar with who J Dilla is and wishes to start exploring one of the genius hip hop producers of all time, Ferguson s book is a great primer I m always used to reading about music which I did not live at the time it came out so to read this book, for me, was pretty surreal Ferguson does a great job on giving you background on who J Dilla is, where he cam

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