Donuts - J Dilla aka Jay Dee

Universal acclaim - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Years from now these "Donuts" will still be just as fresh as the day they first hit the store.
  2. Donuts just might be the one release that best reflects his personality.
  3. Donuts is a big black pot of sonics, comparable only to Madlib's 2002 effort, Blunted in the Bombshelter, the difference being that this is all original material.
  4. A schizophrenic palate of honeyed soul, downbeat electrix, timeless hip hop and bare-knuckle beats, these 31 tracks (spread over 44 minutes) are packed with triple the hooks – and suffer from attention deficit disorder (to the listener’s benefit).
  5. Donuts is hip-hop, then, like “Howl” is poetry or Guernica is painting: the best aspects of a particular style, developed to their fullest and executed masterfully.
  6. Where Champion Sound built and expanded on Dilla's signature champion sound, Donuts blasts off into the sonic stratosphere, straying far from his trademark neck-snapping drums, dirty keyboards, and backward melodies in favor of stream-of-consciousness weirdness and free-associative sonic experimentation.
  7. It’s entirely too richly tragic and fitting that the man’s last release is the apotheosis of his work, the finest and most representative example of what he contributed to music and, in turn, how music inspired him.
  8. 80
    Experiencing multitudes of brief bangers is a rare treat. [Mar 2006, p.113]
  9. Be forewarned: Donuts can be a frustrating tease when the average instrumental clocks in around the one-minute mark. But for those who hold a true appreciation for Dilla and his avoidance of predictable sounds and mainstream beats, Donuts will sound right on track.
  10. The end result is akin to Norman Smith and DJ Shadow sitting in on a RZA-produced session-- spry, voiceless prog-hop by any other name.
  11. Free from the constraints of perfunctory pop structure, Dee funnels seemingly dissonant patterns into pulsing tides of harmonious congruence.
  12. Donuts is fascinating, disorienting and -- despite its best efforts to avoid such sympathies -- a bittersweet document of a too-young talent who ran out of time.
  13. It's like a medicinal tonic cleansing your system of the toxic effects of 10+ years of boring, bloated rap full-lengths.
  14. Even if... it never quite adds up to more than the sum of its parts, it's never less than a pleasure to listen to. [Apr 2006, p.119]
  15. Fresh and interesting. [Mar 2006, p.138]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 57 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 40
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 40
  3. Negative: 3 out of 40
  1. Nov 3, 2010
    This is simply amazing. I don't usually listen to this kind of music but I've learned to appreciate greatness no matter in what form it comes in and this is certainly a great album I've listened to over and over countless times. Full Review »
  2. NVWhite
    Aug 11, 2008
    It was released more than 2 years ago, and I still listen to it daily. This album will still be relevant in 15+ years. How many other recent releases can you say that about? Full Review »
  3. Apr 30, 2014
    J Dilla's final album is important to any fan of Hip Hop. The album flows incredibly smoothly from start to finish and never has a dull moment. Jay most of these tracks were made while he was in the hospital, He more than likely knew that ''Donuts'' would be the last album he would ever release, with that in Mind he created one of the most important hip hop albums of the decade. Full Review »