Despite their shared Midwestern origins, overlapping periods of early work, and an open mutual respect of each other’s respective catalogs, Kanye West and the late J Dilla collaborated on only a handful of tracks.
Though West has openly testified to the grail status of Dilla’s drums and sampling technique, unlike many of his contemporaries, the Chicago rap star has yet to dig up a loose instrumental from the producer’s vast vault of unused beats for any of his own albums. That last part introduces a compelling thought experiment. What if West and Dilla had joined forces for a full project or even a potent two-pack a la 2008’s Sniperlite release? Enter Cameron Smiley, who answered the call with a stellar mash-up project.
Titled, The College Donuts, Smiley’s latest tape clocks in at just north of 36-minutes-long and features a seamless blend of classic and obscure Dilla instrumentals with bars from West’s first three albums, as well as a few interviews (and even a feature or two.) The tape opens with one of Bernie Mac’s intro’s for West against the opener for Dilla’s Donuts. It progresses into a flip of “We Major” with a selection from The King of Beats compilation as its backdrop. Elsewhere on the tape, “Diamonds from Sierre Leone” gets another remix, this time, with Dilla’s thumping production for Common’s “Thelonious” sitting just beneath West’s verses.