’Volume One’ is the album which first highlighted the immense talent of producer and founding Slum Village member Jay-Dee aka J-Dilla. Ironically, for a project which garnered such huge critical praise within the industry it was never officially released, and became instead one of hip hop’s most bootlegged releases ever – ‘platinum on the street’ as Jay-Dee himself called it in an interview, at the same time thanking those responsible for putting him on the map as a producer.
’Volume One’ features the original Slum Village line up of Jay Dee, T-3 and Baatin, and also features production by Waajeed – currently making noise with his project, Platinum Pied Pipers.
On the basis of this release ?uestlove (of The Roots) dubbed S.V "the next level in soulful, vintage hip-hop", and speaking of Jay-Dee in the past few days, following his untimely passing, "I am devastated at the world’s loss of a musical genius of Charlie Parker proportions. Too often we bestow the ‘greatest’ title upon those who have the attention of the press and the charts and radio. But if you were to secretly ask the most praised hip-hop producers, if given a top three, who they fear the most, Dilla’s name would chart on everyone’s list, hands down. Dilla was and will always be my hero."
On the basis of ‘Volume One’, Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest also recognized the brilliance of Jay’s production, and together they went on to form The Ummah production team constructing much of the two final ATCQ albums, Busta Rhymes first solo album, and work for D’Angelo, Common, The Phycyde and many many more.
More recently, Jay Dee has been cited as an influence by Kanye West and Pharrell Williams, who named him as one of his favourite producers.
In short, ‘Volume One’ is unquestionably a hip hop masterpiece, which deserves to be ranked alongside the likes of ‘Midnight Marauders’, ‘Illmatic’, ‘The Chronic’ and ‘36 Chambers’.