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Perhaps the greatest instrumental Hip Hop album ever made by arguably the greatest producer who ever lived. J Dilla passed away 3 days after 'Donuts' was released in 2005 and it is the most bittersweet parting gift one can imagine.

Crafted of chopped up soul loops and quirky electronic nuggets, the album's 31 tracks veer from tear-jerking poignancy to the sound of a master of his craft simply having fun, yet each piece is imbued with the unique, slippery and silky groove Dilla managed to achieve with his hardware.

The collection of brief vignettes draw from a diverse platter of source material, including alternative versions of classics such as "Light My Fire" and "Season Of The Witch", Dionne Warwick's "You're Gonna Need Me" (on the devastatingly effective "Stop"), the eerie percussion and chanted vocals of Eddie Kendricks' "People... Hold On", the bizarre early electronica of Raymond Scott on "Lightworks" and even 10CC's "The Worst Band In The World" on "Workinonit".

The duality of the album's effect is pretty much exemplified by "Lightworks" and album closer "Donuts (Intro)". On "Lightworks" Dilla painstakingly chops up individual syllables of the female singer's vocal to make her say "light the spliffs" in the song's 'chorus' exemplifying how he uses his talent, ingenuity and playful sense of humour to insert a dumb, juvenile joke into a beat that, by itself, is a straight up banger.

On "Donuts (Intro)" he loops a snippet of Motherlode's "When I Die" for a searing and emotive closer. When you dig a little deeper and realise the line he has pinpointed is "When I die I hope to be / A better man then you thought I'd be" it becomes truly spine-chilling.

It's almost a shame that "Donuts" will always be tinged with sadness as it is an incredible musical experience from start to finish that deserves to be enjoyed untarnished by preconception or emotive sway. However it will always carry with it a sense of loss and tragic wasted potential that makes it an utterly unique listen.

J Dilla - Donuts

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