It’s been eight years since the tragic passing of the pioneering Detroit-born beatmaker J Dilla (real name: James Yancey), but a steady stream of unreleased tracks is still pouring out of the vault he left behind. Friday, Yancey’s mother Ma Dukes announced a new box set called The King of Beats that looks at the whole of her son’s career in an ornate package that features five previously unheard cuts, including “Filth,” which you can stream below.
The box set comes in the shape of the exact drum machine that Jay Dee used over the entirety of his career, the emu E-Mu SP-1200. Inside you’ll find four 10″ records from Dilla’s Batches collection, a cassette with the five unreleased tracks, a booklet of interviews with Dilla’s friends and music scholars, and, curiously, a 3″ floppy disk containing an unreleased song that can be loaded into an actual drum machine.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ma Dukes said that the new 40-track set came from a process of “soul searching and meditation” and a desire to combat a host of unapproved projects by unknown artists.
“Now that I’m out of mourning and full of insight and feeling my son’s energy radiate around me, I wanted to do something different but iconic; Something that people would preserve and relish for a lifetime that spoke quality,” explains Yancey.
“Filth” seems a classic Jay Dee vocal cut, built on playful lyrics, gritty breaks and a series of gleeful James Brown samples. You can hear that below, and you can preorder the set over at its official website on June 24 in advance of its August 26 release.
If you’re not too familiar with Dilla, let Kanye or Questlove explain why you should care.