(Dilla Week) SAMPLED: J Dilla – Signs


From my collection…

One of J DIlla’s craziest flips is a B-Side from his seminal album Donuts (audio streams below)


Here’s a little oddity you might not have seen or known about. Back when J Dilla’s seminal Donuts album came out ten years ago (2006), record label Stones Throw released a fan club 45 with two bonus tracks not on the album. Pandemonium, is a track featuring Roc C and Madlib’s younger brother Oh No rapping over a track on the album called The Twister (a head-banging highlight from the album). But the real star of the show here is the A-side, a straightforward, looped up track that didn’t make the album called Signs.

And it’s kinda easy to hear why it didn’t make the album. Anyone familiar with Donuts knows that it’s a frantic, mishmash of ideas that never stops for it’s 40 minute duration (and say that with the utmost respect and love for that album). Yet Signs is pretty restrained in comparison to the tracks that did make the album; it’s largely comprised of two loops played over and over for its brief 2 minute run time. Also, it’s considerably more uptempo than most of the stuff on the album, given it’s 106 BMP.

Yet this song is so entrancing that once heard, it’s pretty hard to get it out of your head. A big part of that has to be the strength of the sample here: an old soul burner by Brenton Wood called Gimme Little Sign. The original track in and of itself is pretty catchy but Dilla snagged just the right parts to make it even catchier. But what’s truly incredible from listening to the original track is Dilla completely turned this song on its head. What was once a pretty catchy, Northern Soul-esque number is turned into a pitched-down, almost psychedelic head nodder, complete with a little bit of extra “uh”. If you needed further evidence of J Dilla’s genius when it comes to sampling, listen to this!


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