J Rocc

Some Cold Rock Stuf

BY Del F. CowiePublished Mar 26, 2011

"Yo, yo, yo, yo! That was fresh. But bust the slow beat!" Anyone familiar with J Rocc (of the pioneering Beat Junkies turntablist crew or as a DJ famed for his effortless mixing style and treasure chest of J Dilla rarities, bestowed directly upon him by the late producer) will know that this command – issued at the end of the sound bite-riddled intro to his debut release, Some Cold Rock Stuf – sounds like the antithesis of what the energetic DJ is all about. But Some Cold Rock Stuf is about knocking those assumptions firmly on the butt. Culled from his voluminous vinyl collection, Some Cold Rock Stuf is a journey into the former Jaylib DJ's moods, from languid contemplation, and quirky humour to infectious effervescence, all served up on the fulcrum of dusty drum breaks. Head-nodder "Thru the Tulips" is as wistful and immediately gratifying as it sounds, while "Malcolm was Here (Part 1 and 2)" juggles virtuoso jazz drumming from the Heliocentrics' Malcolm Catto. The seven-minute "Party" is the creative watermark, where he appears to synthesize Bollywood and bossa nova into an organic, old-school excursion, firmly underlining his transition to an artist who not only deserves immense respect for mixing and playing records, but for making them too.

On "Play This (Also)" I noticed there's a bit of a Latin vibe and on "Party," I'm assuming that it's Bollywood music that you're taking...
Yeah, for sure, for sure.

I'm assuming these records were part of your crate-digging trips. Where didn't you go to get music?
Everywhere. Wherever I've gone I've gotten records. I've never been to India, but I've been to record stores with a big-ass Indian section and I'm just like, "What? I've never seen any of these records before!" And I end up buying just as much as I can afford, at the time; I buy everything. I was just going through CDs and going through records at the house and burning CDs of sounds that I thought sounded good looped up, or just going through records looking for samples and just going through those. I call them sample discs and boom, nothing's safe. If it's something that's remotely funky, loopable or somehow you can do something with it, then I'm going to try something with it.

How do you handle the Dilla rarities at this point because some of it has never been properly released?
I'm careful where I play it; I'm careful with how I play it. It's not really to show off, it's more to play something different. For the heads that are really there, I was a Dilla head before there were Dilla heads. I used to get made fun of when I used to play Dilla's stuff: "So, like, damn, you gonna play J Dilla again? What isn't produced by him that you play?" I used to get killed all the time. I've played all that stuff, just to be able to get different stuff and to play it differently; it's just fun. The universe knew I was a J Dilla head. I was a number one fan before there was a number one fan. When that dude was alive, I was the number one fan.
(Stones Throw)

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