Yancey Boys- Sunset Blvd.

Frank of Frank-N-Dank and Illa J make up the Yancey Boys. The entire album is produced by the late J Dilla, a God-like producer who as it seems has stashes of unheard beats equally as great as the work he was making while he was still here. These beats are not ‘throw-a-ways” and if they are then that just further shows the genius of J Dilla. As with many posthumous releases albums usually lose the feel the artist naturally had when making music, usually due to the work being unfinished but mostly due everyone handling the finalization of the project but the actual artist. “Sunset Blvd.” does not have this problem, it is one of the few ‘put together’ posthumous Dilla releases that flows naturally, perhaps it is because of the bond Frank and Dilla had as friends accompanied by the brotherly bond Illa J and Dilla shared. Production wise this album is top notch but lyrically Illa J and Frank Nitt definitely bring their A game. After facing some slight criticism Illa J steps up to the plate goes directly at his nay-sayers. From flows to punch lines to hooks he clearly made it his mission to step his art up to the next level in every aspect with this release. The album also features many of J Dilla’s continuous collaborators from J Rocc, Posdnuos, Common and Guilty Simpson to former (original lineup) Slum Village member T3. “Jeep Volume” has the crew breaking down the history of their come up, from rapping as a hobby to being on world tours as the beat blends between a straight loop and a full fledge production which sounds like a sample of an alternate version of “The Look of Love”. This track finds Illa J at his most personal and is a rare glimpse into what it was like for him growing up as the younger brother to one of Hip Hop’s most notable producers, to seeing him pass away, and then stepping into the shoes as a full on recording artist. “Flowers” is vintage Dilla, a smooth track featuring another long time Dilla collaborator Talib Kweli. “This Evening” closes the album, a sinister sounding club track with verses by Illa J only. The album also comes with a complete second disc of all the instrumentals, an essential to any Dilla produced album.

Rating 7.5/10

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