Ryan Dombal
August 18, 2006 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Renowned for working live instrumentation into his soul-sampling concoctions, Detroit hip-hop producer J Dilla honed his distinctive organic sound until passing away at age 32 in February from a rare blood disease. Not just a slapdash posthumous CD, The Shining is a guest-fueled opus assembled largely by Dilla before his death. His warm, intimate style is highlighted throughout, especially on ”So Far to Go,” a gorgeous ballad featuring floating coos from fellow enigmatic genius D’Angelo. Though bittersweet, the CD lives up to its mastermind’s lofty legacy.

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