Record Label: Fat Beats Distribution
Following the success of 2012’s posthumous Rebirth of Detroit CD, the official estate of J Dilla is proud to present Rebirth of Detroit Instrumentals. The new album distills Rebirth of Detroit’s 21 tracks to a lean 12 beats, never before pressed to vinyl, spanning Dilla’s career from Slum Village to Donuts. Containing only carefully sequenced, cherry-picked tracks that span over a decade of work, Rebirth of Detroit Instrumentals serves both as a comprehensive overview of Dilla’s style and as a testament to its profound influence on contemporary producers. The double LP, packaged with entirely new artwork, offers a rare insight into the mind of an artist who has come to define not only Motor City rap but the entirety of hip-hop from the 90’s to today.
On September 4, Southern California’s Blu & Exile return to their collaborative origins with the release of Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, the long-anticipated followup to the duo’s landmark debut, Below the Heavens. Featuring Fashawn, Homeboy Sandman, Johaz of Dag Savage, Black Spade of Hawthorne Headhunters, and ADAD, the new album on Fat Beats / Dirty Science is both an evolution from and complement to their first: a cohesive, kicked back collection of hip-hop buoyed by Blu’s gymnastic wordplay and Exile’s soulful, sample-driven beats. While Blu’s penchant for introspection and analysis remains intact, his perspective ebbs from the sun-soaked nostalgia of Below the Heavens to a more playful realm where raps about lost love and forgotten dreams find equal footing with those about Gondry films and delivery cheesecake. Together Blu & Exile have taken the raw materials of rap and crafted charmingly idiosyncratic, album-minded mu- sic that transcends coasts and continents alike. As with Dilla & Common, Hi-Tek & Talib Kweli, and Pete Rock & CL Smooth, there’s a kindred understanding between Blu and Exile that invites instant ease and empathy. Although Exile has produced tracks for Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Akon, Aloe Blacc, Jurassic 5, Kardinal Offishall, and Mobb Deep, it is with Blu that his production feels most at home. Give Me My Flowers While I Can Still Smell Them, though undoubtedly a logical progression in both sound and scope, defies all the hype, precedents, and expectations to reaffirm the duo’s position at the forefront of LA’s burgeoning beat scene.
The name Will Sessions was born as a producer alias of trumpeter Sam Beaubien. After sharpening his keyboard skills and learning writing and arrangement from the accomplished David Van De Pitte (who arranged for countless Motown recordings including Marvin Gaye’s album What’s Going On) at Wayne State University, he decided to start a band. With classmates Tim Shellaberger (bass) and Bryan Arnold (drums) along with recruits Ryan Gimpert (guitar) and Eric Kacir (Percussion), the band was complete.T h e y helped to develop a nascent monthly funk music party called Motor City Funk Night, and three years later, the party has grown into one of the sta- ples of the Detroit scene, and Will Sessions were playing in front of crowds of up to 3000 people. The success of the Funk Night parties led to significant studio work with artists like Black Milk, Mayer Hawthorne, and Slum Village, and the hip hop sessions in particular led Beaubien to concoct the idea of Will Sessions recreating his favorite sample-based music in a live setting with the full band. His vision would be realized with three smash concerts in 2009 for Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, and Phat Kat, which left hip hop fans in awe of how the band stayed faithful to the original sampled and programmed beats, while creatively elevating the songs to new heights by recreating them live. It was the particular challenge of duplicating the unique beats of J Dilla that gave Beaubien the confidence to work on the emcee Elzhi’s anticipated project Elmatic. Elmatic had been initially planned and announced in 2008 as a tribute to the historic 1994 album Illmatic by Nas, but it wasn’t until early 2011 that Elzhi and his manager Jae Barber agreed that it would be best to recreate all of the beats from scratch--and there was clearly nobody who could do it better than producer Sam Beaubien and Will Sessions. Since it’s widely considered to be the holy grail of hip hop recordings, the prospect of du- plicating the music from Illmatic was daunting. By using the original sam- ple sources of the album’s tracks as a foundation, producer Beaubien and the band members managed to recreate both the sound and the mood of the classic album with stunning precision on Elmatic, exceeding lofty expectations set by loyal fans and skeptical critics alike. With an ever-increasing body of recorded work, a skyrocketing reputation within their hometown market, and their first tastes of national and international interest, Will Sessions are primed to be among Detroit’s hottest musical exports.
Ever since he burst onto the scene in 2007 with the widely acclaimed Exile collaboration Below The Heavens, L.A. rapper Blu has been hailed as the most promising up-and-comer hip-hop has seen in years. With his cool L.A. demeanor and intricate lyrical musings, Blu blew a breath of fresh air into a stale SoCal hip-hop scene, leading hip-hop tastemakers like HipHopDX and XXL to name him one of the genre's top newcomers. After releasing further collaborations with Detroit's Ta'Raach and L.A. producer Mainframe, Blu attracted the attention of Warner Brothers, which will release his first major label album later this year. Lately, the internet has been buzzing about Her Favorite Colo(u)r, his unreleased debut EP. Initially available as a low-quality download from Blu's myspace, HFC is finally mixed and mastered, and will be in stores everywhere on April 19, 2011. With love-themed movie quotes drifting in and out and Blu's heartbreak raps sitting atop his own mellow production, HFC is the most distinct and cohesive project Blu has released to date.
Madvillainy is a collaboration between rapper MF Doom and producer Madlib under the group name Madvillain. MF DOOM and Madlib were off the radar to many in 2003, but the announcement of a collaboration and the first track, “America's Most Blunted”, brought all the quiet fans out of the woodwork, and let to a controversial and highly acclaimed album release in early 2004 that helped expose the two artists to a large audience for the first time. While the producer and MC both did was what completely natural to them at the time, they turned the formula of popular rap at the time on its head, creating an album that is both unique and true to it's hip-hop influences.