Producer: J Dilla & De La Soul
Album: Stakes Is High
Label: Tommy Boy Records
By 1996, Jay Dee had completely infiltrated the Native Tongues movement. Everyone from Tribe to De La were singing his praises, so it was no surprise that the Detroit beatsmith was tapped to produce the first single from De La's fourth album, Stakes Is High. Released during the height of the East Coast vs. West Coast battle, the track took hip-hop opulence and gangster rappers to task, and found De La grumpy with the current drift of the culture.
The beat is another Dilla treasure, showcasing one of his best traits—a gift for finding the most obscure sounds, sampling them, and turning them in to big records. The way he built an entire song around a few short seconds of Ahmad Jamal's “Swahililand” is the stuff of legend. Being sick and tired never sounded so good.