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Dilla Donuts Month: "Donuts (Intro)"


Which part of this “Intro” is the um, actual intro? That mess of trebly croons and drum smacks that invoke images of some crap bar or Ma and Pa greasy spoon shutting of its lights for the evening, or the scratched “Dilla!” shout-outs wrapping around one another with a very Roy Ayers-esque synth-line and low-energy feedback that becomes the “Outro” too? It certainly makes the album’s circular nature both clear–starts with the “Outro”, ends with Intro”, beginning is the end, end the beginning etc.–and sort of baffling as only the end of the “Intro” is the “Outro”…and the part based on “When I Die” by Motherlode sort of fits before it in some weird limbo. And in typical Dilla fashion, anything that mentions death or dying from a song called “When I Die” was left out of his MPC. Which makes sense because any song on Donuts, even the album itself could be called “When I Die”…


Dilla’s passing has completely loaded this track with so much meaning that you can’t help but think that Jay Dee probably knew he was going soon. The full line from the Motherlode original goes like: “When I die, I hope to be/ A better man than you thought I could be”, which is a pretty humble sentiment to invoke, a real classy way for Dilla to go out, still asking for acceptance from his family, friends, and adoring fans. Of course, Dilla cuts this phrase down and focuses only on that held out “beeeeeeeeeee”, which itself is like a commandment to stay living in the moment and just be, just enjoy life as he did. But even if he didn’t intend that meaning, it’s still a dope slice to use. There’s just something about the timbre of their voices when they hold out that “e” that I can’t quite describe. It’s kinda crackly but rich and sweet and kinda inherently animated somehow. And the fact that Dilla inverts the Intro and Outro on the album is a fun little jab but also implies a circle of life, “there is no beginning or end” notion that maybe indicates how he felt about his own death and beyond.


Written by Brandon

March 4th, 2009 at 4:59 am

Posted in Dilla, Donuts Month

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