On May 6, Detroit icon J Dilla‘s mother Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey will be officially re-issuing Jay Love Japan a project inspired by the late producer’s affinity for the country. The 11-track project has been bootlegged and unofficially leaked in many incarnations, with CDs even being pressed in 2008, but they quickly went out of print.
Many hardcore Dilla fans have heard the project’s instrumentals, but the Blu and Miguel “Sun In My Face” collaboration was officially released yesterday to quench the thirst of the uninitiated. Over triumphant strings, a focused Blu celebrates the achievement of hip hop, proclaiming “we done made it out the gates, made a culture that you praise.”
Miguel’s heartfelt hook, recorded 10 grammy nominations ago, puts the cherry on top of a song with considerable mass appeal. It’s a nod to the famously off-kilter producer’s genius that he was capable of crafting beats that straddled the line of mainstream and backpack sensibilities.
As much as it hurts, it’s tempting to listen to the track and wonder how hip-hop history could have been altered if Dilla was still here, and had actually collaborated with the uber-talented artists—especially Blu. Sadly, all we have is this track, which is wholly sufficient on its own merit.