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Illa J

Yancey Boys (Delicious Vinyl)

Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., March 19, 2010

SXSW Records

Illa J

Yancey Boys (Delicious Vinyl)

Younger brother of hip-hop's patron saint of blunted beats, Illa J lives in the spreading shadow of his beloved older bro, the late James Dewitt Yancey, better known as J Dilla. Yancey Boys finds the titular MC rapping and singing stoned non sequiturs over a treasure trove of unreleased Dilla doughnuts from the mid-1990s. The lost gems are from the Delicious Vinyl vaults, loping jazzy leftovers from Pharcyde's Labcabincalifornia. Little's required from Illa J beyond riding the beat and getting out of the way. The self-proclaimed "Detroit hypnotist" goes above the call on "R U Listenin'?," teaming with Motor City vet Guilty Simpson on the LP's strongest track. More often, Illa J croons off-kilter choruses that melt into the background and spits laid-back bars that simply keep heads nodding to the main event. Like the jazzy piano of the opening track, Yancey Boys is proof that Dilla's gentle boom-bap is "Timeless." (Sat., 9:30pm, Malverde.)

**.5

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