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Jay Stay Paid 

Jay Stay Paid
Composer: J Dilla
Conductor: J Dilla
Label: Nature Sounds
Release Date: 2009-06-10
Rated: NONE
Genre: Recording

This posthumous compilation, packaged like a radio program, was not curated or mastered by the much-mourned producer, and for that reason alone it’s not nearly so infinitely relistenable as 2006’s Donuts. Many of the beats here feel unfinished, which may explain the decision to bring in so many guest MCs — several tracks don’t have the polish to stand on their own, something that can’t normally be said of his finished work. The guest verses here are about what you expect — heavy on RIPs and tossed-off freestyle. Honestly though, coupling half-ass rhyming to rough draft Dilla beats still works out when the MCs are high-caliber (Raekwon and Mobb Deep’s Havoc on “24K Rap,” for example, or MF Doom on “Firewood Drumstix”), but the album drags when say, Lil Fame (“Blood Sport”), Danny Brown (“Dillla vs. the Hybrid”), or Frank Nitty (“Pay Day”) takes the mic. Several inspired instrumental runs (“Lazer Gunne Funk,” “In the Night While You Slept (I Crept)”), however, suggest Dilla wasn’t done at 32.

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