Nas & J Dilla On A Madlib Track Is A Powerful Bookmark In “The Diary” (Audio)

In two days (April 15), J Dilla’s posthumous album, The Diary, will finally release. With its beginnings dating back to the opening of the 2000s, the then-MCA Records solo artist and current Slum Village member plugged away at the LP that would never see release before his February 2006 death.

In those days, while Jay Dee was making hits with the likes of Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, and Common, among many others, one can only presume that Nas was high on his wish-list. As Nasty Nas enjoyed a career renaissance in Stillmatic and God’s Son at that time, he would—as he always has—work with some of Dilla’s production peers. Now, in 2016, Nasir’s Mass Appeal Records imprint teams with Dilla’s estate to see the Diary dream through, and merge the vocals of the Queensbridge thug poet, and the Motown double-threat.

J Dilla’s Love For West Coast Rap Shines Alongside Snoop & Kokane (Audio)

The Madlib-produced “The Sickness” is just that vehicle. Premiered at last month’s South By Southwest during a Nas concert event, the CDQ has released. Jay Dee was in full MC bravado, showing that while Heads love his beats, his raps were just as knocking. The verse justifiably compares Dilla to Michael Jordan, and celebrates his crew of Rap-loving henchmen. Nas’ verse finds the MC in his 2010s stride, discussing a businessman’s lifestyle, with the rhyme book never far out of reach. Nas raps about traveling the globe, opening up foreign clubs, and refusing to conform to basic expectation of what a rapper should or shouldn’t be.

The Madlib beat taps into that JayLib flavor, keeping the bond between James and Otis burning ever-bright.

Related: Black Thought Reveals What Artists Used To Do To Get J Dilla’s Best Beats (Video)