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Ruff Draft

4.5 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

"Let me explain it. It's Ruff Draft. For my real niggaz only. DJs that play that real live shit. You wanna bounce in your whip, sound like it's straight from the ma'f*ckin' cassette! Ruff Draft... Let's do it."... Thus begins Ruff Draft. Released only on vinyl in February 2003 with European distribution, this sought-after album remains the elusive key release in J Dilla's catalog. Ruff Draft would later prove a turning point in Dilla's career. He spent the '90s making a name for himself as an all-around, top-notch hip-hop producer for A Tribe Called Quest, Common and de la Soul, eventually branch-ing ut to work with a variety of heavy-hitters in hip-hop and R&B, including Busta Rhymes, The Roots and Erykah Badu. In contrast to understated, mellow vibes and minimal, crisp drumbeats he brought to these groups, Ruff Draft first revealed a whole new side to Dilla's musical genius. Reewheeling, in-your-face synthesizers, and an unchar-acteristically sample-heavy approach that was as bangin' as it was experimental. After Ruff Draft's limited release, Dilla relocated from Detroit to Los Angeles where he would continue working on tracks for Common's Be (Geffen, 2005), hostface Killah's Fishscale (Def Jam, 2006), Busta Rhyme's Big Bang (Aftermath, 2006), and his own material - all of this while dealing with a life threatening illness that was unknown outside his immediate circle. J Dilla died on February 10, 2006, after suffering for over 2 years from complications of TTP, a rare blood disease, and Lupus. His passing came 3 days after the release of his album Donuts (Stones Throw, 2006). Coverage of his life's work in Rolling Stone, Spin, XXL, NYTimes, Scratch, Fader, MTV, The Source and his subsequently released The Shining (BBE, 2006), have presented Dilla's music to countless new fans. Stones Throw Records is proud to release Ruff Draft for the first time on CD, together with 4 previously unre-leased tracks, and a bonus CD of the Ruff Draft instrumentals - all from the original master tapes.
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (November 8, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Stones Throw
  • ASIN: B000NY189K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #467,550 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Thomas on March 30, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Dope, not his best work though. A lot of the Stones Throw/bandwagon Dilla fans say it's this AMAZING classic gem. It's dope... but not that dope. The one really cool thing that this EP does is bridge Welcome 2 Detroit to Champion Sound. It really helps put the dots together as in his progress and movement with his production style.

Although in my opinion this release isn't his best work, I highly suggest checking it out. It's some dope ish you can just pop in the jeep and ride to. (in the same vein as Sittin' On Chrome)

Choice cuts

Make 'EM NV

The $

Chrushin"

Nothing Like This (which was also released on Chrome Children)

3/5
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Format: Audio CD
This truely is a great album. J Dilla is brilliant, easily one of the top hip-hop producers of all time. Many consider him a "horrible rapper," which isn't true. His production just outshines his lyrical style. This album is raw, and blissful. To put his albums (Stones Throw) in perspective...

Ruff Draft - Raw, street-influenced, yet blissful.

The Shining - Entirely about love, and does it oh so well.

Donuts - Masterpiece. Beautiful. You can feel the last words of a dying man on a 31-track instrumental album. Amazing.

This album isn't as good as Donuts, but compete with The Shining. A must for any hardcore Dilla fan.
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Format: Audio CD
The great thing about this album is Stones Throw released the instrumentals along with the CD. I gotta appreciate that, cause that didn't happen with The Shining.

Not everything on this one's classic, but it's J Dilla, and anything else we get from his mastermind is more than worth it. Just listen to "Let's Take it Back," "Nothing Like This," "The $," "Make'em Nv, "Crushin' (Yeeeeaah!)," "Wild," and "Take Notice." Not only was Dilla the best producer, but one of the better Detroit MCs. It's a priviledge that this album got released to the masses with extra tracks and instrumentals to boot. It's a must not just for hip hop fans, but for fans of true music period. Get two, one for the house and one for the car. You're gonna need it.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
DILLA DILLA DILLA BEAT BEATS BEATS!

This is my favorite Dilla project, where I can throw it on and not have to worry about leaving it on loop all day. I couldn't even tell you my favorite track off this because they all go hard, wish I copped this originally, but this sounds lovely in all my systems.
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Format: Audio CD
This disc is a bit of an anomaly, because while Dilla may have been known for his beats, his rhymes went mostly under-appreciated through the majority of his life. So here, in these 20+ minutes (15+ w/o the bonus songs or 40+ w/ the instrumental disc) we get to hear the producer covering all bases, with only one brief guest spot from Guilty Simpson on one of the bonus songs. I'm not a Dilla obsessed dude, but once I heard "Nothing Like This" I was totally blown away. It sounds more like dreamy indie-pop than anything I ever heard from him, but the rest of the songs are more traditional. While the production feels perfectly in tune with that Madlib and MF Doom type sound (respectively), and most of his vocals are just shouts through echo effects in the background, he also steps into the spotlight and drops many verses and hooks in a style kind of like a mellower Malik B (the other emcee from The Roots). I'll admit from the get go that I'm more on the backpacker side of this sound, but this release straddles the line in a way that excites me way more than most of the painfully safe stuff to come out of the Native Tongue clique in recent years. I'm sure some of this will be off-putting for purists of political correctness, but Dilla somehow seems to have remained near the pulse even past the grave, as seen in the rough edge he added to his neo-soul sound on this release. I would give the short EP itself a 7/10, but with the addition of the instrumental bonus disc it's easy to give it a higher score. 8/10
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Format: Audio CD
I first copped the orignal album via the boot-leg circuit(now I have a real legit copy!!! Thanks ST!). What I love about this album is that it was Dilla in his rawest form. Let's take it back just took the album there for me. For me the album brought me back the days of DITC and the living legend Pete Rock. But the true innovation of this piece was Nothing Like This.... just ill. It drives home why so many people loved (and will continue) Dilla's music... while he was never on no corniess...he wasn't afraid to take it there it was the prelude to one my favorite albums of all time ...Electric Circus... thank Stones Throw for reissuing this. Let's hope that somehow we can get the MCA shelved project (48 Hrs) finally release!
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Format: Audio CD
Just copped this cd and I have to say its bangin. The beats are real hard and the album has a real nice flow to it. I cant think of one track that i skip over. I really liked donuts and welcome 2 detroit and this is simply another great dilla album. I am feeling his flow on this too-some people aren't and thats cool. And if you happen to just want to bump the raw beats your in luck my friend cuz stones throw got you covered with that instrumental cd included too. Bravo. Isn't it refreshing when you buy an album and you just love the whole thing? Not an eveyday thing.
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