Behind the Beats: Madlib and Dilla

They reimagined not only how the genre sounded, but how it felt. They changed the rhythm, and, by embracing compositional pastiche and kitschy psychedelic, they crafted music that was deeply cerebral and personal. And while they both heavily sampled jazz and soul — the dominant source for the boom bap era producers who served as their shared stylistic avatars — their palette was more expansive and worldly, privileging obscurity over nostalgia, grainy textures over raw masculine presence.You can hear echoes of their work in some of today’s most critically lauded and commercially successful music, from the space jazz symphonies of Flying Lotus to the pan-African milieu of Kendrick Lamar, the refactored soul of Frank Ocean or the jittery, jump-cut flow of Kanye’s Life of Pablo. For this playlist, we’ve collected their best.