The last stage of this period, that to me was more exciting, because he really wasn’t able to communicate. Which really makes Donuts that much creepier for me to hear because all of those [samples], I’m now certain beyond a shadow of a doubt, were actual messages from him. Not just him randomly choosing stuff. If you analyze everything that’s said on Donuts—from “Workinonit,” (where the sample says I’m still working—’cause that’s the thing, he was confined to a wheelchair, he really couldn’t talk, he was half his weight. To see him would freak you out and frighten you. And then he’d press play and you’re like, “Wait a minute!” And that’s when it hits you, like, “Oh, OK, the brain and the creativity inside him are still the same even though the physicality is different.”

“[Don’t Cry],” definitely [was] for his mother. My favorite one, of course, was “Waves,” which he morphed a 10cc sample from Johnny C “Don’t Do it,” to “John Do It, John Do It,” which, of course, is his little brother, Illa J. The way he found to have messages in all the songs—even the nihilistic nature of him flipping “I Don’t Really Care,” [on “Airworks”] nothing in there was [an] accident, at all. [And] that even displayed his genius more, that he communicated via sample.

Questlove (on J Dilla)

[Source]

Notes

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