Few producers have been as influential and well-loved as J Dilla. Here are three of his tracks that pair perfectly with a good joint.
The Pharcyde – “Runnin” by J Dilla
The immediately recognizable guitar riff in this song is taken from the Spanish jazz artists Stan Getz and Luiz Bonfá’s “Saudade Vem Correndo,” with the sexy saxophone solo samples coming from the same place. The skill with which Dilla mixes Jazz and Hip-Hop is truly legendary and is rarely seen even today in a world where Lo-Fi Jazz hip-hop is all the rage.
“Runnin” is good for many of the same reasons that people enjoy Lo-Fi; it’s mellow, it’s a bit funky, and you can listen to it on repeat without getting bored of it. Where it differentiates itself is in its delivery and complexity. Where Lo-Fi relies on simplicity, Dilla doesn’t. He uses complex samples that contain complex melodies and gives it a drumbeat that does more than just add to the music: it elevates it.
This J Dilla produced song is fun to listen to while stoned for many of the same reasons. Rather than just giving us something to zone out to, we can explore this beat. Instead of using music to just chill out, this stuff can engage us while still keeping us cool as ice.
De La Soul – “Stakes is High”
De La Soul was one of the first “jazz rap” groups, and that styling in their hip-hop is nowhere better seen than in their songs with production by J Dilla. The beat opens with a sample from the legendary jazz pianist and composer Ahmed Jamal’s song “Swahililand.”
What makes this song perfect to listen to stoned is the repetitive yet never technically repeating pattern in the drum loop. This song produced by J Dilla has no loop at all, but is a single take track. If you listen closely, you will notice subtle differences in the kick and snare patterns that never repeat.
This similar yet not the same pattern makes listening on weed an exploratory journey where we try to find the differences and similarities between bars.
Slum Village – “Get Dis Money”
You can’t get more into the funk than this song does. Utilizing samples from Herbie Hancock’s “Come Running to Me,” this song is about as 70s as a song from the early 2000s can get.
Even though the weed might have mostly been shake back in the 70s, there’s no lack of power in this 70s inspired song. The 2000s drums mixed with the 70s horns, bass, and midi vocals make for an absolute powerhouse of a song.
The hook is the main thing that will get stoners in this song produced by J dilla. While many of the elements from previous songs are present (non-repeating drum track and jazzy harmony), the hook in this stoner song is more memorable and well-defined. Whenever the stoner’s mind starts to wander, the hook is ready to bring them back into things.