J. Dilla’s Donuts
By Jordan Ferguson
Bloomsbury, 136 pp., $14.95
The 33 1/3 book series from Bloomsbury, which sees authors focus on the creation of specific albums, has produced some real gems, including Nicholas Rombes’ Ramones, Don McLeese’s Kick Out the Jams, and Joe Harvard’s The Velvet Underground and Nico. They’re often flawed, though, because they’re used as an excuse to write an overly short biography of a band rather than an in-depth Behind the Music-style guide. Obviously a little background is required, and Jordan Ferguson has got the balance just right with his soon-to-be-released look at J Dilla’s Donuts. It’s not an easy album to analyze, written as it was from a hospital bed while Dilla’s health was declining but his skills were at their creative peak. It’s not a typical hip-hop record, and it’s not packed with immediate radio-friendly rap hits, but it is a bona fide genre classic, and Ferguson tells the story respectably and empathetically.
J. Dilla’s Donuts will be released April 24. See bloomsbury.com for more information.