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Dilla Donuts Month: "Anti-American Graffiti"

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The assignment was simple in its design. Brandon Soderberg asked if people would like to create a drop or several commemorating a track from Jay Dee’s album Donuts. I already knew which song I wanted to discuss. I love the track called “Anti-American Graffiti”. I also knew I wanted to make a video that used the song as its soundtrack. I hope I did a good job of transferring my thoughts on the track with the images that I clipped and pasted together.

The song is almost like a marching anthem in the way that the drum kicks keep their time. I see an army stretching across the horizon goose-stepping in time. It isn’t a human army though. Well, not all human. They are cyborgs. Stepping on human skulls strewn about the landscape. Even though the human life has been muted there is still something lively about these man-machines and their march. This is the sad future of this planet.

In the last few weeks my thoughts have been on the war that the U.S. is still embedded in across the Middle East. From Afghanistan to Iraq and the tacit support and endorsement in Gaza there is so much blood on our hands as American citizens. I understand that everything that I enjoy as an American comes from the real sacrifice that is made by the U.S. military personnel. All the while their rate of suicide skyrockets to unimagined heights. Can the president wrest a control of this precedent?

When Jay Dee passed away in 2006 the country was almost three years deep in the tumult of Iraq and only six months removed from the disaster that was Hurricane Katrina. Jay Dee saw a world that was folding in on itself as if it had eaten a cosmic Black hole. Maybe we deserve this fate? At some point someone will have to take the weight and bear the burden for all of our complicit sin. With each generation the penalties and interest increase. Will our grandchildren even know what sunlight looks like?

Rest in peace James J.Dilla Yancey. Donuts forever.

J Dilla – Anti-American Graffiti from dallas penn on Vimeo.

-Dallas Penn

Dallas Penn is Dallas Penn. He’s also an Internets Celebrity. You already know this.


Love the way Dilla basically makes Wolfman Jack “freestyle” over this one. As the song starts, there’s a couple of uh, huh grunts like a rapper in the booth on Rap City trying to catch the beat and go off.

In a way, Jack drops some gems on you too: “everybody’s waitin for the million dollar jackpot”, “…end of the world all over again, man”, “Whose gonna take the responsibility?”, “too much too soon”. If you think about it, it’s not all that different from the gutteral speak-raps of M.O.P–or Young Jeezy–and similarly like, secretly brilliant.

This isn’t everyone’s favorite DJ, the iconic DJ of rock n’roll, accompanying your favorite tunes with goofy radio fun, he’s broadcasting from a bunker somewhere, warning all those fucking boomers what they’ll only realize later and never take responsibility for anyway…It’s Monk on the cover of Underground. It’s Super Soul from Vanishing Point. Not Wolfman Jack mythologizing himself in American Graffitti but the Wolfman turned into Mister Senor Love Daddy from Do the Right Thing. The more frantic, even wearier sequel to earlier track “People”. No longer “My people…” followed by a command, but “My family….my history” and all the ugliness that entails, whether your family was doing shit or getting shit done to them.

Written by Brandon

February 19th, 2009 at 7:33 am

Posted in Dilla, Donuts Month

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