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Dilla Donuts Month: "Glazed"

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As opposed to “Mash”, this feels like something that has to be rapped on. Some beats just do that, they have an energy or particular rhythm that demands that someone blacks out on it and try their damned hardest to fingerfuck the track, to quote Pharrell. The shit even has its own head section, the short drum into and melody line into just a killer horn n’bass riff that reiterates that you can’t fuck with a good horn stab. Isn’t that what the JB’s taught us?



“Glazed” is Donuts’ single in the sense that it’s incredible simple and direct–formulaic really. This loop is like Primo precise. He found and rearranged (and slowed down a tad) parts of “You Can’t Just Win” by Gene & Jerry—a song I’ve never heard before, the Jerry is Jerry Butler though—so that it’s a perfect loop. The ideal loop. There’s no messy half-a-sound or clipped-off instrument in the background, the horns, the bassline, the vibes, the drums, all rise and fall together every time in complete harmony.

Dilla though, disrupts the harmony in subtler, less A.D.D ways than on most of Donuts. Just as Dilla finally lets the horns on play out after looping them so tightly it spins your head around and you lose sense of time and space thinking maybe your CD’s just skipping, a mélange of whipping voices chirps, cackles, and mumbles bubbles under; a chunk of chaos in a beat that’s otherwise frustratingly precise. The loop keeps on going but now it’s got the sound of an angry but hopeful community meeting in a church basement or maybe somewhere more radical and underground rushing behind it, gaining fervor.

Tangles of voices fight for your ear, some of them saying the same thing in different words, some of them saying the exact same thing, until the clear, least wrong-headed, most idealistic voice bubbles to the surface: “Wake up world, give peace a chance!”. Behind it though, someone demands “Are you afraid?!” Some rambles invoking “reality” are in there too, they sound like they’re from the Sun Ra movie Space is the Place, they have his distinct, dead-pan bellow but I could be wrong.

It continues the album’s many strands. This time the one solidified with “People”, started on “Stop!” but echoing through other songs…this sense of end-of-days concern for the world and hardened hope that shit’ll all work out somehow. Funkadelic, Sun Ra, Last Poets, Gil Scot Heron, Eugene McDaniels, Sly, Arthur Lee…Dilla.

Like the guys above’s music, “Glazed” is also drug music, trip music, but less the feel-good vibes of psychedelia or even the mannered feel-bad vibes of most psychedelia, but this roving sense of escapism that sends you out into deep fears and deeper hopes and mixes it all up. The reason so many music nerds are also drug heads is because drugs do crazy shit to your hearing–being high or tripping is like hearing the whole world in $500 BOSE headphones–and shit you never realized not only becomes clear but clearer than the more obvious. When you’re uh, glazed, that killer loop fades into the background and those voices takeover almost entirely.

Written by Brandon

February 12th, 2009 at 1:00 am

Posted in Dilla, Donuts Month

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