Questlove Remembers Fateful J Dilla and Common Collab on 'Electric Circus'

Questlove Remembers Fateful J Dilla and Common Collab on 'Electric Circus'

Published Fri, December 16, 2022 at 12:00 PM EST

The most polarizing album in Common's long discography is undoubtedly 2002's Electric Circus. The album featured the Chicago rapper stretching his wings creatively after releasing his acclaimed classic, 2000's Like Water for Chocolate. For the 20th anniversary of Electric Circus, Questlove took a stroll down memory lane, remembering the first time he heard the J Dilla-produced "Soul Power."

"Man I will NEVER forget the weekend Dilla & Com came back from detroit w the beat to the untitled “Soul Power” completed and I got to hear it for the first time when we transferred it to 2 inch tape," he said on IG. "Dill told me he made some “Let’s Go Crazy” type jawn which instantly put me in the mind frame of PE’s “Brothes Gonna Work It Out” space——I was NOT expecting this. The second I heard it I was like “this is our album opener” hands down."

Quest, who is currently working on a Dilla documentary, continued, saying that although he loved the track, there still wasn't a hook.

"I asked him “how you gonna spit to this?” To my surprise he had it written——but there was no hook," Questlove remembered.

Then came legendary songwriter/producer, James Poyser, with some comical input, reciting "I burn incense" repeatedly throughout the short clip, as Quest and Common laugh.

Produced almost entirely by Quest, Dilla, and Poyser, Electric Circus feels different today than it did back then — for one thing, it's more widely appreciated for its avant-garde, widespread sound, and the chances its composers took in orchestrating its delivery.

Reminisce below.

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