Welcome 2 Detroit is the debut solo album by American rapper & producer J Dilla, Released on February 26, 2001. It's one of the few solo albums released before his untimely death due to a combination of lupus and an incurable blood disease. This was Dilla's first major release after splitting from his group Slum Village, and the first to credit him as J Dilla, having been known as Jay Dee prior to 2001.
The first album from the producer-driven "Beat Generation" series by the UK-based urban music label BBE, Dilla took the boundaries of hip hop and smashed them into pieces with his experimental production, ranging from grimy Detroit hip hop ("Pause"), to Electronic Music ("B.B.E."), bossa nova ("Rico Suave Bossa Nova") and Afrobeat ("African Rhythms"). On top of being a roulette of genres, it also showcased talent from Dilla's hometown of Detroit, including longtime collaborators Phat Kat and Kareem Riggins, as well as future Slum Village member Elzhi.
On release, Welcome 2 Detroit was met with critical acclaim from critics & fans, as well as the other producers involved with the "Beat Generation" series; to the point where Pete Rock - a producer Dilla took many cues from - re-recorded his entire BBE album just to match the quality of Welcome 2 Detroit. An instrumental-only version of the album was released in 2005. In February 2021, in commemoration of both Dilla's birthday, and the 20th anniversary release of the album, BBE re-issued a deluxe edition of the album, featuring instrumentals, demos, and remixes; along with a special commemorative book that detailed the album's creation.
- "Welcome 2 Detroit" (0:49)
- "Y'all Ain't Ready" (1:28)
- "Think Twice " (3:52)
- "The Clapper" (2:06)
- "Come Get It" (5:02)
- "Pause" (2:45)
- "B.B.E. (Big Booty Express)" (2:12)
- Beej-N-Dem, Part 2" (2:49)
- "Brazilian Groove (EWF)" (1:30)
- "It's Like That" (4:05)
- "Give It Up" (3:08)
- "Rico Suave Bossa Nova" (1:25)
- "Featuring Phat Kat" (3:43)
- "Shake It Down" (2:55)
- "African Rhythms" (1:36)
- "One" (1:30)
These tropes ain't ready:
- Cover Version: "Think Twice" and "African Rhythms" are covers of Donald Byrd and Plunky & the Oneness of Juju, respectively.
- Fun with Acronyms: "B.B.E. (Big Booty Express)
- Genre-Busting: The album is categorized as "hip hop", but contains heavy elements of various types of world music (Afrobeat, bossanova, etc), electronic dance music, and jazz within its beats.
- Hardcore Hip Hop: The album at it's core, with "Pause" & "Featuring Phat Kat" being the stand outs.
- Mood Whiplash: The chill, laid-back slowjam "Think Twice" segues into a skit featuring several men playing dice on a Detroit street corner. A fight breaks out during the game, leading to one of the players pulling out a gun and shooting someone multiple times.
- Sampling: Mostly averted, due to most of the tracks being original compositions and/or using live instruments.
- Sequel Song: "Beej-N-Dem, Part 2" is a follow-up to the original "Beej-N-Dem" from Slum Village's debut album Fan-Tas-Tic, Vol. 1. "Stepson of the Clapper" from Donuts is a follow up to "The Clapper".
- Special Guest: Several, all of which hail from Dilla's native Detroit:
- "Featuring Phat Kat" & "Beej-N-Dem, Part 2" are pretty self-explanatory.
- Neo Soul crooner Dwele assists Dilla on "Think Twice"
- Big Tone and Ta'Raach are featured on "It's Like That"
- Blu is featured on "The Clapper", with Kareem Riggins handling production duties for the track.
- Elzhi is featured on "Come Get It".
- Stuffy Old Songs About the Buttocks: "B.B.E (Big Booty Express)"