Mm… Donuts?

I’ll never forget the nurse who said, “See you ’round like a donut!” as I was lying down in the hospital one day for another treatment.  She was larger than life, always full of energy, and I like to think one of the reasons that kept me alive when I could barely muster up enough strength to speak.  Who knew that some 8 or so years later, ‘Donuts’ by the late great James Yancey, aka J Dilla, would become one of my favorite albums of all time.

The fact that he was making this album from his hospital bed as death was staring him in the face… probably starting around the time I was in and out of the hospital makes it that much more interesting.  I mean how do you express something like that?  Knowing that this disease is slowly killing you…

Just using simple loops and chopped up samples, he created an opus that really hits you in the heart.  Music that you can rock with in the sky.  Even though I never knew him, it feels like we were sharing the same experience… but I guess everyone can relate to it because this moving music is a testament to the human experience.

His final album was that was released after he died was called, ‘The Shinning.’  Maybe he was shining through the nurse who said that to me.  Letting me know that everything was going to be alright.  We all go through pain… it’s just apart of the ‘donut’ of life.  The kid who was in the hospital bed next to me a lot the time was also named James… just another coincidence I guess.  He ended up losing his leg, and I found out later that he didn’t survive his treatment.  I wish I had talked to him more, maybe he would have made it, but I guess we were both using everything we had just to get through to the next day.  Whatever the case, this donut is for you James…

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