Various Dillanthology Vol. 2: Dilla's Remixes for Various Artists

Part of the reason J. Dilla was unknown to so many music lovers before his death was his elusive musical nature. Slum Village, the only group Dilla could be specifically and immediately identified with, only attained measurable commercial success after his departure, and his subsequent musical output was as varied as his countless collaborators. While someone could peg a sonic style of his as being the definitive Dilla sound, there were probably at least four other musical approaches that could claim the same status, thus enhancing his relative anonymity for the casual listener, to whom this compilation series is primarily aimed. This eclectic range is captured on this compilation of J. Dilla remixes. His work on mid-'90s classic tracks such as De La Soul's "Stakes Is High" and Busta Rhymes' "Woo Ha!!" (when he was known as Jay Dee) are notable for their understatement here and perhaps point to his willingness to lurk in the shadows. While it's cool to hear the rarely heard remixes he did for the Artifacts and Masta Ace, it's the selections from later in his career that capture Dilla in fully fledged artistic mode that are the gems here. The remix of Spacek's "Eve" has been a certified dance floor classic for years now and his raucous reinterpretation of Four Tet's "As Serious As Your Life" is still head-shakingly good, especially when you consider what he did with the source material. These tracks include the sloppy percussion, low-end bass and Dilla's upfront exhortations to "Turn it up!" that, for many, define the producer. Yet, the R&B remixes he did for Brand New Heavies and Lucy Pearl and his thoughtful reinterpretation of Brother Jack McDuff's "Oblighetto" showed he intuitively knew when it was right to emerge from the background. (Rapster/!K7)