A number of different versions of the Ruff Draft LP have been released with various mixdowns and slightly rearranged tracklists. But this definitive pressing is the last version you’ll ever need of one of J Dilla’s most earnest and distilled projects, recorded after an aborted album for MCA left Dilla feeling incredibly jaded and pissed off… a return to form of sorts.
There are two different mixes of the album; LP1 contains the recently-unearthed original mixes (mixed by Dilla) which were thought to be gone forever when Stones Throw reissued the album in 2007 (it was subsequently re-mixed and remastered for that pressing). LP2 contains an alternate mixdown, also by Dilla; very similar-sounding to the first but with what can only be described as an added layer of cassette distortion (this move won’t be strange to anyone familiar with this record or Dilla’s general vibe circa 2003).
This edition is released with the blessing of Dilla’s family and completely authorized by Egon: Now-Again label boss, creative director of Dilla’s estate and former Stones Throw label manager who oversaw the 2007 reissue. In the enclosed liner notes, he outlines the frustrations and shortcuts that marred the ’07 version, and the meticulous lengths he went to properly present this album. Includes a full-color booklet with extensive liner notes and photos. Recommended.
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