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When Ruff Draft saw its initial release in 2003, J Dilla possessed production skills on par with anyone in hip-hop – technically and creatively. “At the top of his game,” says longtime friend and collaborator, Karriem Riggins. After years of building while modestly deferring to others of both greater and lesser notoriety, Dilla finally completed the first solo endeavor on his own label, entirely on his own terms.

The significance of such an autonomous success often gets overlooked, and partly accounts for why Ruff Draft is one of the lesser-referenced entries in Dilla’s oeuvre. “It’s a mysterious little project,” says his mother, Maureen Yancey. “But out of his entire career, that was the happiest time.” Prior to recording the EP, Dilla found himself at a crossroads. Estranged from his label, MCA, and separated from the mother of his youngest daughter, frustration abounded both personally and professionally. Dilla spent parts of 2002 and 2003 working on an album for MCA that featured his rapping over contributions from other producers with whom he had connected and whose music he respected.

At the time, he was known primarily for his beats, yet reviled for his MCing by most anyone not from his hometown of Detroit. The project was to be an intentional freak of the industry. The project would go on to spur his collaborative album with Madlib, Jaylib, and would first showcase the template that he would take to his greatest heights with 2006’s Donuts. The Stones Throw reissue of Ruff Draft from 2008 featured remixes of the songs from the album, done without Dilla’s involvement. This version of the album takes Dilla’s recently discovered mixes of the album and restores his vision for the project. The producer’s own mixes – recently rediscovered – of his seminal EP, expanded with bonus tracks and now available in a special instrumental edition. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Nothing beats a Dilla instrumental and with this album you can eat your heart out there’s so much of it. This album is understated and needs that attention that it deserves, it’s so so good.

J Dilla

Ruff Draft: Dilla’s Mix

    When Ruff Draft saw its initial release in 2003, J Dilla possessed production skills on par with anyone in hip-hop – technically and creatively. “At the top of his game,” says longtime friend and collaborator, Karriem Riggins. After years of building while modestly deferring to others of both greater and lesser notoriety, Dilla finally completed the first solo endeavor on his own label, entirely on his own terms. Prior to recording the EP, Dilla found himself at a crossroads. Estranged from his label, MCA, and separated from the mother of his youngest daughter, frustration abounded both personally and professionally.

    Dilla spent parts of 2002 and 2003 working on an album for MCA that featured his rapping over contributions from other producers with whom he had connected and whose music he respected. At the time, he was known primarily for his beats, yet reviled for his MCing by most anyone not from his hometown of Detroit. The project was to be an intentional freak of the industry. The project would go on to spur his collaborative album with Madlib, Jaylib, and would first showcase the template that he would take to his greatest heights with 2006’s Donuts. The Stones Throw reissue of Ruff Draft from 2008 featured remixes of the songs from the album, done without Dilla’s involvement. This version of the album takes Dilla’s recently discovered mixes of the album and restores his vision for the project. “Straight from the mothafuckin’ cassette,” as he phrased the sound he was going for on the EP’s intro.

    The CD issue is buttressed by unreleased tracks and includes the music from the EP as it was originally released, the alternate version that Dilla had for the project and complete instrumentals. Author Ronnie Reese expands upon his original liner notes to further tell Dilla’s story, in a booklet complete with never before published photographs from the Ruff Draft photo session. This CD issue features first Dilla’s original sequence of the EP and then presents Dilla’s alternate sequence, with tracks unreleased in 2003, as well as instrumentals. Author Ronnie Reese expansively details Dilla’s trajectory at this crucial point in his career, in a booklet complete with never before published photographs from the Ruff Draft photo session. Ruff Draft, like The Diary, sees release on the Pay Jay, the official imprint of the Estate of James Yancey, founded on behalf of Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, John “Illa J” Yancey, Monica and Ty-monae Whitlow, Joylette Hunter and Ja’mya Yancey. The producer’s own mixes – recently rediscovered of his seminal EP, presented in the original issued and alternate sequence. Contains a 2nd instrumental disc. Extensive liner notes and unpublished photos

    J Dilla

    Rough Draft The Dilla Mix - RSD18 Edition

      THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2018 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

      The producer’s own mixes – recently rediscovered - of his seminal EP, expanded with bonus tracks into a 2LP set, with extensive liner notes and unpublished photos. When Ruff Draft saw its initial release in 2003, J Dilla possessed production skills on par with anyone in hip-hop – technically and creatively. “At the top of his game,” says longtime friend and collaborator, Karriem Riggins. After years of building while modestly deferring to others of both greater and lesser notoriety, Dilla finally completed the first solo endeavor on his own label, entirely on his own terms. The significance of such an autonomous success often gets overlooked, and partly accounts for why Ruff Draft is one of the lesser-referenced entries in Dilla’s oeuvre. “It’s a mysterious little project,” says his mother, Maureen Yancey. “But out of his entire career, that was the happiest time.” Prior to recording the EP, Dilla found himself at a crossroads. Estranged from his label, MCA, and separated from the mother of his youngest daughter, frustration abounded both personally and professionally. Dilla spent parts of 2002 and 2003 working on an album for MCA that featured his rapping over contributions from other producers with whom he had connected and whose music he respected. At the time, he was known primarily for his beats, yet reviled for his MCing by most anyone not from his hometown of Detroit. The project was to be an intentional freak of the industry. The project would go on to spur his collaborative album with Madlib, Jaylib, and would first showcase the template that he would take to his greatest heights with 2006’s Donuts. The Stones Throw reissue of Ruff Draft from 2008 featured remixes of the songs from the album, done without Dilla’s involvement. This version of the album takes Dilla’s recently discovered mixes of the album and restores his vision for the project. “Straight from the mothafuckin’ cassette,” as he phrased the sound he was going for on the EP’s intro. It is buttressed by unreleased tracks and is presented in two versions: LP one is the EP as it was originally released; LP 2 is the alternate version that Dilla had for the project. Author Ronnie Reese expands upon his original liner notes to further tell Dilla’s story, in a booklet complete with never before published photographs from the Ruff Draft photo session. 

      J Dilla

      Fuck The Police - Badge Shaped 7" Edition

        THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2015 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

        Rap/Hip Hop. Dilla’s classic, out of print for over a decade, remastered from Dilla’s original mixes and issued on Pay Jay as a badge-shaped picture disc single for Record Store Day 2015. The Estate of James Yancey revived J.Dilla’s Pay Jay Productions as a functioning imprint and announced its release of Dilla's long lost vocal album, The Diary. But before that full-length is issued, Pay Jay now announces the final single to be released from the project. It’s a classic in every way. This single of Dilla’s anthem was originally released as a standard 12”. That vinyl is now rare and out of print. On the Pay Jay issue coming for Record Store Day, both the vocal and instrumental are sourced directly from mix-downs that Dilla himself created. This limited edition Record Store Day release is a badge-shaped picture disc single and features Jeff Jank’s ironic take on Dilla’s message. The vinyl comes in a custom-made pocket inserted into a Japanese-style, resealeable clear plastic sleeve well suited for the collectible this release is destined to be.



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        RT @olly1878: Reached another level of vinyl shopping ⁦@amoebamusic⁩ but missing the friendly faces ⁦@PiccadillyRecshttps://t.co/UoP3qgN7
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        Open and ready. Come in; lots of new releases for you. https://t.co/KL1FeNcZ4F #saturdayvibes #vinyl https://t.co/IZ7KjUn13W
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