Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Donuts

Posted By on Wed, Feb 22, 2006 at 12:00 AM

This is how a beautiful mind says goodbye.

Released on his 32nd birthday, just three days before he died, Dilla's instrumental solo album Donuts is, without question, a humbling work of genius filled with everything that made the Slum Village co-founder one of the most unpredictable producers of all time.

For commercial fans, Donuts is probably far left of most $15 expectations. Among its 31 tracks, there are no Pharcyde-friendly West Coast beats nor any blinged-out Busta Rhymes East Coast jams. Common or Phife Dawg wouldn't select many of these beats for their albums. But that's what makes Donuts such a rough-edged classic. This is Dilla being Dilla — full of pain, creativity and a musical work ethic that rivaled James Brown's.

There are eerie and sad moments here, as if Dilla was coming to terms with his own death. The '70s soul sound of "Don't Cry" is somber enough to sound like an aural epitaph, and the liquid Isley Brothers feel of "Bye" is odd, considering the song never mentions the word.

It's all part of the left-brained madness that makes Dilla's beats such a gift. Most of the album was created in a hospital bed during his illness, and you can almost feel Dilla being pulled to the other side during the sweet soul loops on "Airworks" and the glazed electronics of "Two Can Win."

On "People" — between a melodic array of conga drums and Indian rhythms — sits a perfectly laid Eddie Kendricks sample belting out slowly, "My People ... Hold On."

The man's soul drips all over this one. And we're holding the best we can.

Jonathan Cunningham writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

More by Jonathan Cunningham

Read the Digital Print Issue

June 16, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2021 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation