“Sounds Like Love” is a song that speaks true to its title. The combination of Illa J’s sexy LL Cool J approach to his verses with the smooth jazzy vocalizations of Debi Nova on top of the soulful beat produce the sounds of love in this joint. But this isn’t the type of love you might assume; instead Illa is speaking about his devotion to his relationship with one particular lady. You learn very quickly that he’s wrapped up in this girl when he says, “And if we have a problem, we speak face to face, start solving / This relationship I put my all into.” Debi Nova echoes her affections in the chorus, singing passionately of her feelings in return.
When Jay Dee passed away from complications relating to lupus in February 2006, he left behind an extraordinary legacy of production work, including hits for Common, Janet Jackson, and Busta Rhymes. One mother lode of previously untouched beats dates from his time working on the Pharcyde’s sophomore album, Labcabincalifornia (Delicious Vinyl, 1995). As Delicious Vinyl owner and founder Michael “Mike Floss” Ross explains: “From ’95 through ’98 Jay Dee was my go-to guy for hot beats and remixes. He was always making beats, always. So there was a select amount of tracks that he composed for me during that time, tracks as good as anything he’d done, only they never got used. When I finally met Illa J last year, I gave him a CD containing those unreleased beats.”
In a case of pure serendipity, 21 year-old Illa J had just relocated from Detroit to Los Angeles and constructed a studio built using Jay Dee’s recording equipment. He dubbed it Yancey Boys Studios in tribute to their fraternal bond. “Dilla was 12 years older than me,” Illa J says. “So back in the day in Detroit I was just a little kid, sitting on the stairs in our house, watching him make those first beats for Slum Village. I always felt my brother’s tracks and had an instinct for what I wanted to do over them.” When Illa J set to work in early ’08 recording the album, the project flowed quickly as he entered the proverbial can’t miss zone. The name of the studio rightly became the title of the finished album, Yancey Boys, which is available online and in stores everywhere on Delicious Vinyl Records.
“Sounds Like Love” featuring Debi Nova