Sean Armstrong and E Major Pay Tribute To J. Dilla
For hip-hop nerds, the month of February is unofficially known as J. Dilla Month: The late, great, insanely influential producer was born in February, died in February, and released his existential beat-tape masterpiece Donuts on February 7th, his 32nd (and last) birthday. Sean Armstrong (also known as DJ Face, and part of the group We and Us) and E Major’s Louder! arrived at the very end of Dilla month, which is appropriate, as it’s one of the more cohesive and well thought-out tributes to the producer.
Named after the famous snippet of a Mountain song that Dilla snuck into his beats (a live clip of Mountain’s “Long Red,” with Leslie West commanding an audience: “Louder!”), Louder! is Armstrong and E simply rapping over a few of Dilla’s beats but their song choices–which sidestep the hits and iconic songs–suggest the kind of obsessive combing of the dude’s discography that defines Dilla fans. Two from the fairly obscure Jay Love Japan (“Say It” and “Fantasy”) and a heavy focus on the knotty weird productions: the slow-boiling “Aquarius,” the Giorgio Moroder-sampling “E-MC2,” the swerving “Reckless Driving,” and cracked-out chipmunk soul on “Starz”.
Like many of Dilla’s own releases, Louder! is short (17 minutes long), and features some really sweet graphic design. It’s also free on The Under Sound Bandcamp page.