J Dilla’s classic solo debut album, Welcome 2 Detroit, was released 20 years ago this month. To commemorate the landmark LP’s anniversary, BBE has released Welcome 2 Detroit — The 20th Anniversary Edition box set. Stream the full collection below via Spotify and Apple Music.
The expanded edition of the set features the entire remastered album, instrumentals, previously unreleased alternate mixes, and studio outtakes, the treasure trove of tracks includes new interpretations by Azymuth (“Rico Suave Bossa Nova”) and DJ Muro (“Think Twice” and its accompanying instrumental).
Welcome 2 Detroit was Dilla’s first solo effort, released when the producer was then 27 years old. Instead of packing the LP with the big name guests his status warranted at the time, Dilla chose to highlight smaller, local Motor City MC legends like Beej, Big Tone, Frank N Dank, Phat Kat, and Elzhi. Speaking on the freedom BBE offered him to create the album he wanted, Dilla said,
“Peter (Adarkwah, founder of BBE) let me do whatever I wanted to do. So, I wanted to put people on there who are gonna spit y’know, lyrically and represent Detroit. Because I wouldn’t have been able to pull this album off if it came out under a major. Cos they’re not gonna let you just do a song or you can’t just do an instrumental. You gotta have this feature and you’re Jay Dee, why ain’t you got Erykah Badu? Why ain’t you got so and so on your album? I’d have had to go through all of that, instead of just putting out… y’know, Beej on this joint!”
The box set also comes with a book featuring the “oral history of the album’s making,” including interviews with J Dilla’s own mom, Ma Dukes; Amp Fiddler; and many of the key contributors to the album.
Purchase the vinyl box set here, and stream it in full below.
Welcome 2 Detroit — The 20th Anniversary Edition Artwork:
February 5, 2021