J DILLA “THE DOE” + INTERVIEW WITH SUPA DAVE WEST.
In 2001, J Dilla set out to record an album with his favorite hip-hop producers, one of these being Supa Dave West. Over a decade later, still in the long process of getting this full project released, we finally get to hear Dilla & West’s collaboration, mixed, mastered, and released on vinyl in the form of J Dilla’s “Give ‘Em What They Want” EP.
The EP contains three vocal tracks and two instrumentals. Of the three vocal tracks, “The Doe” and “No One’s Home” were produced by West and recorded December 2001, and the title track “Give ‘Em” is J Dilla’s own completely reworked version dating September 2002.
We spoke just yesterday with Supa Dave West about this collaboration.
Rappcats: How did you and Jay first meet?
Supa Dave West: I had a record deal at the time with Q-Tip’s Museum Music in ’97… I would go over Tips house to vibe, and we both started hearing about each other from that point. I met him sometime between then, when I started working with De La. We hung out a couple of times when he would come to NY for meetings. We both produced records for De La Soul. We talked a lot about our music philosophies. This was the pre-social media days. Everyone was just grinding… but we kept in touch.
In 2001 he told me about the project, working with his favorite dudes, producers that inspired him. He asked me to send him something. I sent him 36 beats and from those he picked 4.
What was your process like back then?
I worked on the ASR-10 and MPC 2000. These beats where made on MPC, needle dropping on melody spots in the record to a rythym and then looping it… one take usually… real art shit! I started doing that around ’98.
And then you worked together in person. Tell me about that.
Yeah, I would come though Detroit every year around Christmas, heading to Canada to make a huge beat tape for first quarter after the holidays. He picked me up where I was staying in Detroit in 2001… He eventually demo’d 4 joints but while I was there I dumped two beats and those ended up being “The Doe” and “No One’s Home”
“The Doe” was made before Jay’s version, “Give ‘Em What They Want”?
Yes. The “aahh” vocals on “Give em” was originally from “The Doe.”
We both respected each other as producers, but we talked about a lot of ways to realize the music, from a musicians point of view. That’s where I think he was coming from. I’m a drummer, and came up playing gospel. We connected in that way.
Jay did a lot of editing. He payed attention to detail in ways a lot of producers didn’t. He was heavily effecting his music and sound designing… that attention made the music special.
While these Dilla tracks from over 10 years ago finally see the light of day, what are you working on now?
Beat Boxing – an instrumental project, not with one ID to the next, but based on a whole storyboard… the companion, Spit Boxing with MC’s… and the third, Chop Sticks, a break beat record. I’m also in the studio working on De La’s next album, and doing something for Faith Evan’s next one… a song called “Miracles”.