View Full Version : Behind The Smile: J Dilla Donuts

02-08-2011, 02:49 PM
Pretty interesting story about the making of the famous donuts cover:


In 2005, stones throw records asked me to make a video for the MED song 'push'.

we shot in two locations, one in highland park and one on hollywood boulevard. as was expected, madlib didn't show up to set, but we were happily surprised when the semi-reclusive j. dilla did.

it meant a lot to pb wolf and stones throw, it meant a lot to MED, and it definitely meant a lot to me to have my set blessed by jay dee. (i'd met him on a few occasions before but it was usually brief and he was a man of few words around people he didn't know too well).

i even kept the camera rolling after the music stopped on a few takes because it was obvious that he and MED were having fun together.

the end result was accepted to BET programming but never saw airplay because, despite the huge producers attached to the project (j. dilla and just blaze), MED didn't have hot 97 spins. lesson learned.

one completely unexpected outcome of the project was as follows: months later when stones throw art director jeff jank was designing the cover for dilla's 2006 'donuts,' he realized that he had no unseen photos of dilla and that dilla's failing health made taking a new photo impossible. so he asked me if there were any stills from the shoot that might work for a record cover.

i picked about three out and sent them to him, and the rest, as they say, is history.

ps: i almost forgot. probably the coolest thing that came out of this whole situation was something that egon told me. apparently dilla's mom said that she thought this photo perfectly captured her son's spirit.

There is also a video on the site with the video shoot!

R.I.P. J Dilla

02-09-2011, 01:32 PM
wow no dilla fans in here i guess ;)

02-09-2011, 01:39 PM
thanks never heard that story, i love the cover for that, as his moms said it feels like it captures the whole essence of his persona/soul. and so does the music on that record too. for the inside inserts and vinyl cover i remember reading Jay Dee was inspired by the Quasimoto artwork and wanted something similiar for "Donuts" so that's how they got the same guy to do the artwork.

"Donuts" is one of the best albums of the 2000s decade, for sure. i wish they would have handled "The Shining" a little better, i mean it's a banging joint but it would've been perfect if it would've been coupled with the tracks from "Jay Loves Japan" too.

02-09-2011, 01:42 PM
whoa man that's fucked up, when i was watching the video it stopped at exactly 22:00 (because of loading problems) were exactly the picture that was used for the cover was at. scary haha

02-09-2011, 02:07 PM
haha crazy shit fam! j dilla gave you a sign from the other side ;)

i see what you mean with the "the shining" album, but on the other side, i really love jay love japan exactly the way it is (its ridicolous short tho)...so much soul in it...i cosign with donus, thats an incredible piece of art...i still can listen to that album and hear new things, it feels still fresh like on the first day i bought it...