Today in Hip Hop History: October 7, 2003
Ask any hip hop head who their top hip hop producers of all time are and I can guarantee that most, if not all, will include both J Dilla and Madlib. Their ingenious perfection of sampling revived the importance of the producer, which had largely taken a back seat to the MC in the 90s.
In 2003, underground hip hop legends Madlib x J Dilla united to release their only studio album, Champion Sound, through Stones Throw Records. Under the moniker Jaylib, the two artists each produced half the album. One half has Madlib producing the instrumentals with J Dilla on the vocals and the other half vice versa. It was the first duo collaboration album that Madlib participated in during the 2000’s, followed by the classics Madvillainy, Liberation, Pinata and more.
The idea of the collaboration conceptualized when one of the Beat Junkies introduced Madlib to a J Dilla instrumental CD, who was relatively unknown at the time. Madlib recorded verses over the beats, and Stones Throw then shelved these songs. Eventually, Madlib and Jay Dee began actively collaborating and exchanging ideas with each other. Following several leaks and bootlegs appearing on the internet, Stones Throw released their finalized product in late 2003. It contained two sides; one with the finalized 19 songs and the other with instrumentals, remixes, and various interludes.
In 2004, Dilla moved from Detroit to Los Angeles. That year, the two toured together to promote Champion Sound.
Unfortunately, Jaylib never had the time to blossom into a long standing collaborative effort. Dilla contracted a rare blood disorder and passed away at the young age of 32 in 2006. Stones Throw has since released unreleased tracks of the two, but it remains solely up to the imagination what the duo could have achieved. Nonetheless, it is always refreshing to return to their works. In this case, Champion Sound both literally and figuratively embodies the yin and yang of Dilla and Madlib. It is one of the most technically innovative collaborations in hip hop history.