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J Dilla – Gangsta Boogie

Both Questlove and D’Angelo cite J Dilla (born James Yancey) to be a visionary and an eye opener. He single-handedly invented the sloppy, slugging behind-the-beat feel that is now considered a staple typical for Neo-soul, Fusion and Hip Hop acts. Rumours say it happened by accident, when the samples were not aligned “correctly” to the beat grid but shifted ever so slightly. In a video, Questlove explains how he had to unlearn the rhythmic tightness and precision he acquired over the years in order to achieve the musical ideas of D’Angelo based on J Dilla’s beats.

Unfortunately, J Dilla died early in 2006 on a rare condition. Instead of giving in, he produced his final solo album The Diary lying in a hospital bed. Off of that album, Gangsta Boogie is a prime example for the aforementioned style, which this transcription cannot capture at all:

So in order to get the feel right, listen, listen and listen again. And don’t get lost in Snoop Dogg’s verses.

Yes, the bassline was very likely a synth which I tried to emulate with the Digitech Bass Synth Wah. It’s close but unfortunately not the real deal.

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