J Dilla - "The Introduction" (Singles Going Steady)

by PopMatters Staff

2 March 2016

Bold, intense, with skillful rhyming and an incredible array of sonic textures, another sad reminder of a brilliant artist gone too soon.
 

Chris Ingalls: Ten years after his death, the J Dilla posthumous material keeps spilling out. From the upcoming album The Diary, this track doesn’t disappoint. Bold, intense, with skillful rhyming and an incredible array of sonic textures, another sad reminder of a brilliant artist gone too soon. Elevating hip-hop with sounds that almost seem lifted from the prog rock playbook (I could’ve sworn I heard Rick Wakeman in the mix at some point). And at just a little over three minutes, it ends way too soon. [9/10]
  

Pryor Stroud: Kanye’s “Real Friends” edified us all again about the stark power of hip-hop distilled to its bare essentials: rhyme, beat, and hook. “The Introduction” succeeds off of an analogously distilled sound, but feels wide-screened and vastly ominous despite its relative minimalism. J Dilla also shares a polymath MC-writer-producer identity with Kanye, a fact that he memorably boasts here, making an introduction no one needs: “First, let me introduce myself / My peeps call me Dilla / Known to write and produce myself.” It’s braggadocio, no question, but for the legions of next-generation hip-hop archeologists who’ll be combing through Dilla’s back catalogue for inspiration, it’s a perfect salutation. [7/10]

Emmanuel Elone: Even though he passed away a decade ago, J Dilla still comes through with some of the greatest head-bobbing instrumentals in hip-hop. The electronic sound deviates a bit from his usual soulful, jazzy mixes of the late nineties, but the spirit, energy and personality of the Slum Village emcee/producer come through loud and clear. From his A Tribe Called Quest flow (specifically from the song “Excursions”) to the live, upbeat atmosphere, “The Introduction” isn’t so much an intro as a continuation of all that J Dilla lived for, both musically and personally. [8/10]

Chad Miller: The track has a great sound with multiple musical elements falling perfectly into place. Dilla’s flow isn’t always flawless, but it’s just a small nuisance that is more than made up for by the excellence of the music. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.75

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