This weekend (27th February 2016) marked the 15th Anniversary of the release of Jay Dee (aka J Dilla)'s debut production LP 'Welcome 2 Detroit on BBE Records. For an artist / producer with such an extensive discography dating back to the mid '90s, it's hard with hindsight to believe that his debut LP as lead artist came this late in his tragically short career. Perhaps more astounding is the fact that this was the only J-Dilla solo album to see release in his lifetime. ('Donuts' was of course released just days before his death, but occupies a space somewhere between beat tape, mixtape and instrumenal album.) 'Welcome 2 Detroit' was also the first of eleven producer led artist albums to be released under BBE's 'Beat Generation imprint. The series would go on to see releases from veterans of the hip hop underground (Marley Marl, Pete Rock, Jazzy Jeff) and emerging a-list producers of the day (Will.I.Am, Madlib). There's very little to be said about the album that has not been said before, but suffice to say it's an eclectic masterpiece that's widely considered one of the most influential LPs of its day for good reason.
Stream the full album on Youtube here.
[Purchase physical copies / check release details on Discogs here]
For further listening check out Chris Read's official Beat Generation 10th Anniversary Mixtape.