Origins: Think Twice For Puerto Rico
Think Twice (from BBE’s release Welcome to Detroit - 2001) is a live cover version by Jay Dee (also known as) J DILLA of a song by the same name. Originally recorded in 1974 by featured trumpet great, Donald Byrd, and produced by the legendary Mizell brothers in Hollywood, California, Think Twice (from Blue Note’s release Stepping into Tomorrow) has been sampled numerous times within Hip-Hop classics such as Lookin’ At the Front Door (1991) by Main Source & Footprints (1990) by A Tribe Called Quest. What made Dilla’s cover version standout was the fact that he sang vocals, performed live instruments with vocalist Dwele, and produced a live cover version of an original sample - not just sampling an original recording, which is traditional in hip hop production. His version was uniquely slowed down in tempo and was very “neo-soul/R&B” like, at a time when the genre was formative - versus the original version by Donald Byrd which had more of a fusion jazz and disco premise. In my opinion, Jay Dee’s version was a lot more “grown & sexy” in comparison - and a true representation of a culture’s (Hip-Hop) maturity and actualization, compared to just using sampled recordings like a decade prior. Even though J Dilla was more of a traditional “boom-bap” sample-based producer, he had real and bonafide music playing capabilities and put it to use in his productions, exemplified in his recording of Think Twice. J Dilla’s unique and original ear as a composer stands out when compared to the original sample, which was coincidently written and performed by another Detroit native, Donald Byrd (1932-2013). His cover recording is a testament of (J Dilla’s) musicality and true brilliance as a music producer and interpretive composer.
- Marlon Williams, Jr. (Founder, Jazz Under the Bridge)
Join us Saturday, February 8th, 2020 to celebrate the official J DILLA DAY NYC 2020 & learn more about how to get involved with the official James Dewitt Yancey Foundation - New York chapter.