Detroit MC Guilty Simpson built his career making guest appearances on tracks produced by the late J-Dilla. But when it was time to release his critically acclaimed debut, Ode To The Ghetto, there weren’t as many sound beds from Mr. Yancey as some fans had hoped.
“I didn’t want to two-track beats and record ‘em with him not being here,” explains Simpson, who was first heard by many outside of Detroit on “Strapped” from Jaylib’s Champion Sound. “Not saying I won’t do it in the future, cuz I’d have to. But I didn’t want to do that this time.”
Like many MCs that favor a particular sound, Guilty had sample clearance issues with some of the Dilla-produced tracks he’d recorded.
“I had a song called ‘Stressed’ that I liked but that had a Beatles sample and I had ‘Man’s World’ that had a James Brown sample,” says Simpson. “Then I had ‘Make It Fast’ which was a record and I put on the NBA SK8 soundtrack, then ‘Clap Your Hands’ that I put on the Chrome Children soundtrack. I’ve been giving people a lot of Dilla songs that I could have saved for my album. And with me still mourning his death I wasn’t ready to get into all of the Dilla tracks. That was my homey. No matter how much people love Dilla that was homey. It hit me twice as hard cuz my friend is gone and I was fan of his music also, so I just want to do it at the right time in the right taste.”
Simpson’s debut features beats from other top tier producers from Detroit, like D-12’s Denaun Porter and Black Milk. One track, “I Must Love You,” was produced by J-Dilla.
“I was one of Dilla’s favorite MCs but he always wanted to see me expand,” Simpson says. “He referred me to Madlib and Black Milk. And I was working with Mr. Porter before I even got with Dilla, a lot of people don’t know the history. I hope to come out with projects exclusively produced by Dilla but I didn’t think the timing was right.”
Guilty Simpson’s Ode to The Ghetto is in stores now.