Thursday, 7 February 2013

DJ SS - Bronze

DJ SS - Bronze (Formation Colours Series, 1997)

James Yancey would have turned thirty nine today. On his thirty second birthday, just three days before he died of a rare blood disorder, the hip-hop producer better known as J Dilla released Donuts, an album that has come to be seen as his farewell letter to world with hidden messages strewn amongst its thirty one quick fire tracks. One of my all time favourite albums, it is a life affirming record which is stunning when you consider much of it was created from his hospital bed. Now every February is Dilla Month, a celebration of his life and the incredible music that he made, so I thought I would pay tribute by looking at a drum'n'bass track sampling one of his productions.

Dilla got his big break back in 1995 as part of The Ummah, a production team that also included Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest. They produced the vast majority of the last two Tribe albums including 'Stressed Out' which is where DJ SS sourced the vocal hook for 'Bronze', the last entry in Formation's Colours Series. The "I really know how it feels" line is sung by Faith Evans and SS places it over jazzy keys, trumpet and guitar in a chilled intro that gives little indication of what is to follow. Over a 'Think' based break he brings in a big infectious bassline transforming the track into a speaker shaking jump-up tune with a variation on the bassline introduced after the breakdown to keep things moving.

Look out for part two of my Dilla tribute on Sunday when I'm planning DnB 365's first doubleheader.

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