Ruff Craft Mixtape...
During early 2008 whilst listening to J Dilla’s Ruff Draft LP in a haze of lingering smoke and half-drained longnecks, the idea for a concept mixtape dedicated to the life and works of the late great J Dilla began to formulate over the remaining hours of the evening. Over the remaining months Sydney-siders The Igloo and DJ D*Phy teamed up to create The Ruff Craft Mixtape; a concept release doubling as a tribute and ode to one of the worlds most talented and respected hip hop producers hailing from Detroit: The late great James Dewitt Yancey, AKA Jay Dilla. Often dubbed as “your favourite producers favourite producer”, Jay Dee has crafted beats for the likes of A Tribe Called Quest, The Pharcyde, Common, Busta Rhymes, De La Soul and Slum Village to name a few, along with countless remixes, solo productions and unreleased beat tapes.
The Ruff Craft Mixtape is comprised entirely of the finest hand picked Dilla instrumentals from start to finish, with The Igloo handling mic duties and cuts interlaced by D*Phy over seamless beat mixes. Both artists aim to deliver originality and diversity over Jay Dee’s smooth soundscapes, paying tribute in tracks such as ‘Ode to Dilla’ and to the city of Sydney in ‘Celebrations’. Throughout the mixtape there is plenty of mentions of keeping an art-form pure and staying true to the roots of the music. “Some fucking rappers only kick what’s real/ life’s cheap/ I don’t need to sell out Dill” is a statement of keeping projects like The Ruff Craft Mixtape to an acclaimed underground audience as much as possible.
The Ruff Craft Mixtape was originally made exclusively available as a limited edition release of 100 hand-numbered audio-cassette tapes, staying true to the definition of a 'mix tape' as well as representing the work ethic and analogue preferences of J Dilla’s production techniques and grimy sounds. The A side featured all the tracks mixed and blended together over 45 minutes, with all the instrumentals left to shine for themselves on the B side.
Now almost half a decade later, the project has been released in digital format for those that missed out on cassettes and for purveyors of Dilla's music.
R.I.P Jay Dee.