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Dilla Donuts Month: "One Eleven"

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The producer-trick show-off shit of Donuts ends with “One Eleven”. Again, the whole album’s beatmaker braggadocio (and G-d bless it for being so), but from the platonic loops of “Glazed” and “Twister”, to the obsessive sample slicing of both “_____works” songs, to the finding a new way to flip a too-often flipped break on “Stepson of the Clapper”, songs feel heavy on skills and disinterested in overt emotion. And so, it’s appropriate that this suite within a suite closes by returning to soul-beat warmth and subtly pronounces Dilla’s own greatness.

The sample here is Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “A Legend In Its Own Time” and the chorus in particular, is just dying to be used as a bad-ass hook about how fly a rapper is, but instead Dilla gels together the pieces of swooping strings between the singing. Like, “Stepson of the Claper”, “One Eleven” is an exercise in side-stepping the obvious. He’s saying he’s a legend in his own time without coming out and saying it, you see?

And it’s not like Dilla’s subtle. So many songs in title alone talk-up sickness, death, and parting this planet but when it comes to talking his shit again, Dilla’s pretty quiet or like “show don’t tell” about it. Donuts could use Smokey and company’s gorgeous hook and you’d smile a bit at the arrogance, and nod your head in agreement if a track looping the phrase “a legend in its own time” moved through your speakers. Nah. The only time you get to nod in agreement or truly contextualize sampled vocals here is when they’re reminding you of and helping Dilla through death: “Stop!”, “Don’t Cry”, “Bye” etc.

Written by Brandon

February 16th, 2009 at 8:42 pm

Posted in Dilla, Donuts Month

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