Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Cram to understand you

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2001 at 12:00 AM

If you know Jay Dee’s résumé remotely as well as Prince’s, you might notice two stark similarities in their individual histories. Jay Dee, like Prince, consistently breaks ground by conducting technical experiments that go beyond the average listener’s comprehension. He’ll probably become a case study in innovative production techniques.

The slight downside to this similarity is the same point. Jay Dee, like Prince, consistently breaks ground by conducting technical experiments that go beyond the average listener’s comprehension. The lead Slum Villager, who’s gone from being one of hip hop’s most popular producers to being one of music’s most wanted alchemists, has released his first solo project, Welcome to Detroit. Jay Dee’s fan following, reminiscent of the RZA’s, will relish the freshness of all 16 tracks.

The challenging aspect of this album is the inconsistent lyrical arrangements. The vocalists assembled here are a hometown compilation of long-time Jay Dee affiliates: vocalist Dwelle, Elzhi, Frank-n-Dank, Lacks and Phat Kat, among others. All respected lyricists in their own right, their myriad styles meshed onto one album are about as inconsistent as stormy seas. Don’t look for a concept album. This is a Jay Dee beat party. And also look for Jay himself to vocally shine the brightest over his own material.

Check “Shake It Down,” “Y’all Ain’t Ready” and “It’s Like That” for highlights. Also, for the sake of a good excursion, shift to the sunshine of “Brazilian Groove” and “African Rhythms” for a good Jungle Brothers throwback.

E-mail Khary Kimani Turner at


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