The year was 2001. Despite being released a year beforehand, hip-hop heads were still snappin’ their necks to Slum Village’s Fantastic, Vol 2 and without giving anyone a moment’s peace, that man J Dilla released his solo debut Welcome 2 Detroit.
Simply put: Welcome 2 Detroit was the solo work that set a world of precedents. It was the album that solidified Dilla as the amazing producer that we now immortalise. It was this elaborate and immaculate setting where we’d see the likes of Elzhi, who would go on to replace Jay Dee as the third member of Slum Village. It’s the album that forced record label MCA to sit up and take notice of a genuine artist. It’s where sensational collaborations with Dwele, Frank-N-Dank, and Phat Kat were put out for the world to hear and appreciate. Welcome 2 Detroit kicked off BBE‘s Beat Generation series with such a bang, it’d make dynamite seem like a puny firecracker. This album showcased a wide range of influences and served as the ultimate antithesis to the critics of hip-hop that would constantly bleat on about how hip-hop is narrow-minded and devoid of real artistic creativity. This album was a celebration and once the outro rolled, hip-hop heads in the know all shared a sneaking suspicion that the party would never end. Ever.
If you haven’t gotten around to copping this album yet, stop sleeping and do so via the links provided below: