Yancey Boys Sunset Blvd.

Yancey BoysSunset Blvd.
It's been nearly eight long years since the passing of revolutionary hip-hop producer J Dilla, but through their ongoing Yancey Boys project, Dilla's little brother, John "Illa J" Yancey, and (now) Frank 'N Dank member Frank Nitt are keeping nostalgia's torch burning in a big way. As curators of a treasure chest of the late beatsmith's unreleased creations, the two MCs have fashioned a new record, Sunset Blvd., that draws heavily from Dilla's classic smoother side, with warm soul and jazz moods over straight-laced beats setting the tone, though there are a few standout exceptions. Cuts like "Honk Your Horn," "Beautiful" and the Common-featuring "Quicksand" fall squarely into the former category, but things get a little tougher with the stiff rhythmic slap of "Jeep Volume" and the cleverly chopped piano sequence and strung-along flow of "Without Wings." Though some of the beats are thought to date back to the producer's Pharcyde period, Sunset Blvd. maintains a general freshness and lingering sense of soothing familiarity, while the energetic vocal contributions make for a complete album that does the Yancey name justice for both Illa J and his legendary older brother. (Delicious Vinyl)