I don’t think there is a single Pharcyde fan that doesn’t feel that they owe a debt of gratitude to one Mr James Yancey, aka Jay Dee; aka J Dilla. The album Labcabincalifornia – while not as successful commercially as Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde – was easily just as good, especially from a production aspect.
Dilla produced five tracks on the album [including the legendary Runnin’], co-produced on one track, and provided live drums for another. The latter performance rounded off precisely how much of a musical machine Jay was and while you can take nothing away from the incredible lyricism, flow, and charisma that The Pharcyde displayed on the record, one would be hard pressed to say that Labcabincalifornia would be the album it was without Jay Dee’s contributions.
As if all that work wasn’t enough, Jay went back to the lab and provided one of the most timeless pieces of music hip-hop had ever seen: the remix to She Said. Often called the Amsterdam Remix (due largely in part to the music video being shot in Amsterdam), Jay Dee absolutely turned an already fairly decent jam out into something otherworldly. If pianos had heartstrings as part of their build, Dilla owned one and used it to glorious aplomb. The bass line grooves are immense here; the drums are haunting, yet heavier than all of heaven; and the Nina Simone sample is used so exquisitely, one almost misses it due to being lost in such a wondrous world of sheer aural bliss. Slimkid3 and Fatlip deliver some of their greatest verses and for a moment, you can feel the planets align and everything is right in the world.
With that all said, press play and get a load of why this track and this album are at the centre of the eighteenth Day of Dilla.