If you love Madlib's hip-hop creations best out of his vast discography, chances are that you keep tabs on his Beat Konducta series. An aural appetizer of moods and rhythms, these albums seem to truly capture a genius at work. Volumes 5 and 6 find Madlib reminiscing over the “Coltrane of Beats,” J Dilla.
Three years after his death, Dilla's Donuts album still speaks to family, friends, and fans in a deeply personal way. The same can be said for these new Beat Konducta volumes, released on vinyl respectively as Dil Cosby Suite and Dil Withers Suite.
Assisted by J. Rocc, Madlib has created a poignant tribute full of loose-limbed soul and cinematic funk. The Cosby Suite is expectedly jazzy and a lot like one of Heathcliff Huxtable's trademark sweaters: overgrown and colorful, a hand-me-down that you can't wait to get your hands on.
In contrast, the Withers Suite thumps a lot harder and is full of party-rocking moments. “Blast (Computer Rock)” incorporates theme music from a Sega Genesis video game while “Never Front (Ears Up)” milks B-Boy swagger through a string of various MC one-liners. Occasionally an ear-shattering scream pops up on Withers, the kind hip-hop lovers make when they can't believe what they're hearing. We've all had that experience at least once with Dilla's production, and Madlib provides plenty of his own throughout these 42 tracks. It goes without saying that you will not find a more eloquent eulogy for James Yancey than this one.