j dilla died – J Dilla Discography

As a core member of the Soulquarians, with James Poyser and the Roots’ Ahmir “?eustlove” Thompson, Dilla worked on Common’s Like Water for Chocolate, D’Angelo’s Voodoo, Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun, and Talib Kweli‘s Quality.

j dilla drum kit – The Untold Story Behind J Dilla’s Lost Album The Diary

J DILLAJames DeWitt Yancey came across like an angel on earth,” singer and songwriter Steve Spacek” White told Fader magazine in 2006. The Musical Cross Roads exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture tells amazing stories of African American music. Chuck Berry’s Cadillac, a neon sign from Minton’s Playhouse and Thomas Dorsey’s rehearsal piano are just some of the items you’ll find amongst J Dilla’s producing equipment. If you’d like to find out more about J Dilla’s life and legacy, the J Dilla Foundation is a great place to start as is this YouTube playlist of his most iconic beats.

Pete Rock made an instrumental song called “Dilla Bounce (R.I.P.)” on his album PeteStrumentals 2 paying tribute to J Dilla. HI-TEK: Cincinnati producer and member of Reflection Eternal with MC Talib Kweli; contributed to Jay Dee’s unreleased MCA project.

This stunned response was one of many to Dilla’s unique approach to drums and bass, as he created a signature low-end sound that grooves and flows throughout each of his songs. His work with production groups like The Ummah, in which he collaborated with A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad led him to artists like the hip-hop supergroup Soulquarians. Dilla’s command of sampling did not only present in his technical skill with machines like the MPC, but also an incredible knack for sourcing jazz and soul records and bringing them to new heights.

Speaking at last week’s pre-release listening party, Alapatt – creative director of Yancey’s estate – talked through the life and times of the creative polymath’s final musical accolade, and the man from a long line of pimps, hustlers, soldiers and thugs”.

Today (February 7) marks J Dilla’s birthday. The iconic producer, MC, and DJ would have turned 45 years old. Tragically, the incredible artist born James Yancey passed away on February 10, 2006, days after his birthday and the release of acclaimed instrumental Hip-Hop album, Donuts However, his music, impact, and creative spirit still burn bright 13 years later.

An avid fan of conscious ’90s hip hop, Tom was bitten by the Dilla bug when he first heard the legendary instrumental producer’s beat for Slum Village track Fall In Love. It was a prompt for him to start digging deep and educate himself on the work of James Dewitt Yancey, with Misch also namechecking some of Dilla’s associates and related acts as big inspirations on his sound – including Slum Village, Common, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. Listening in to Misch’s beatwork and lush soundscapes as both a producer and singer-songwriter, the deep influence Dilla has played on his output is definitely evident.

PETER ADARKWAH: Jay Dee’s album on BBE was his first solo album and the first artist album to be commissioned by and released on BBE. I went to Detroit to hang out with Jay Dee—or Dilla as he had just become known as—to talk about ideas for the album. To my pleasant surprise, he had various BBE comps on his wall. I also noticed he had a lopsided collection to what I expected—way more jazz, Brazilian, funk, and soul albums than hip-hop records. We drove around Detroit and I suggested the title Welcome 2 Detroit to him and he loved it. Jay really loved the fact that the Beat Generation series would allow him to do things no one had ever suggested.

Jay Dee’s first label signing came as part of 1st Down, with Detroit native Phat Kat MCing and Yancey on production. The group were signed by Pay Day records, but their break was short lived due to possible label complications. Their one 12” single, A Day With The Homiez”, was released in 1995.

J Dilla’s signature sound is not characterized by a particular instrument or chord pattern: it’s a sense of timing. Before Dilla, most hip hop beats came from cleanly chopped drum breaks or from beat machines synchronized to a grid. Dilla was among the first producers to inject a purely human feel into his music, ignoring the grid and letting his kicks, snares, and bass lines slide in and out of time with each other to create a natural, hypnotic groove. Practice playing your beats without quantization and listening for the subtle interplay between notes.

This box set was something of a godsend for Dilla fans, featuring four 10″ vinyl records of music from Jay Dee’s Batches” collection, a cassette with six unreleased Lost Scroll” tracks and a booklet of interviews with his peers. Also included in the box is a 3.5 inch floppy disk (!) containing one unreleased beat that you can upload into an actual E-Mu SP-1200 drum machine. The box set’s design is inspired by the SP-1200, which Dilla used to make much of his music. This project came about by a lot of soul searching and meditation as to what can I do now that my son has so many bootleg projects out by unknown artists without my approval,” said Ma Dukes Yancey back in 2014.

By renewing Dilla’s connection to Detroit music and local schools, Ma Dukes wants her son’s beat to go on. One of hip-hop’s most admired and innovative producers of the 2000s until his untimely death. NTS aired an episode dedicated to the music of J Dilla on 21 February 2019. J Dilla has been played on NTS over 430 times, featured on 337 episodes and was first played on 24 April 2012.

A true favorite of mine. I can listen to “I can’t stand to see you cry” over and over. Been a fan since I moved to Detroit and started hittin’ the local scenes and checkin for new music. Jay Dilla drums are unlike no other. Something bout that boom bap he creates that causes instant neck cramps from the head nodding his beats foster. Support great hip hop music and music in schools. Thanks, Dilla Dogg.

Dilla — who started building his skills as a DJ at a young age and played records in a local park when he was two — began a multi-year odyssey of experimenting with pause tapes not long after hearing Sucker MCs” and Big Mouth.” Based on observations from some of his collaborators, it sounds like Dilla’s pause tape beats were a cut above most other producers after just a few years of practice.

One can find a lot of information on Dilla with just a quick internet search: where he grew up, where he went to school, who he worked with. But in talking with his mother, it’s clear she’s the only one truly capable of defining why it was Dilla that changed hip-hop music.

A highlight from the Philly rapper’s album ‘Like Water For Chocolate’, Dilla expertly worked in a sampled chorus from smooth ’70s crooner Bobby Cauldwell into this Grammy-nominated hit from Obama’s favourite rapper, Common.


Originally recorded for a special edition of Common’s 2005 outing, Be, ‘So Far To Go’ first surfaced on Dilla’s first posthumous album, The Shining. It’s fitting that both Common and D’Angelo appear on the track: both artists inspired the producer to provide high points in his career, and here they put in trademark performances that more than do justice to the retro-futurist soul of Dilla’s backing.

What’s interesting about Dilla is his influence since his death. A month doesn’t go by that you don’t hear a track from an act, hip-hop or otherwise, which reminds you of his work. It’s how his blueprints have gone on to inform the handiwork of countless other acts and producers which is Dilla’s real legacy as much as the records he left behind.

The first release from the ‘Lost Scrolls’ cache will be digital-only single The Throwaway” this December. The song, credited to Yancey Boys feat. Frank Nitt, features new verses from Illa J and a tight hook from Frank over a vintage Jay Dee beat.

All of this activity spread the word about his sounds. Listening back to the records Dilla made while he was alive, there’s a spirit to them which is hugely infectious. They’re heavy on rhythm and percussion and, more often than not, slightly off-beat. It was beautiful yet bizarre music, sounds which were twisted and manipulated seamlessly by this wizard into great slabs of sound.

Part of the beauty of J Dilla’s work is that it has inspired individuals on every corner of the globe. Case in point is this beaut’ of a tribute by Japanese band RF, who released their homage on Timeless Records, with a smooth-as-hell running cover on the A-side, entitled ‘Thnx 4 Dilla (Farah Re-Edit)’ Followed by a rousing, acoustic version of Yusef Lateef’s ‘Love Theme from Spartacus ‘ on the flip.

One morning after the club, I busted in on T3 with a plan. Put all the songs on one album, make a cover, sell a couple of hundred, and make yourself a few dollars. He’d been thinking the same thing, so we called Baatin. Baatin was down. I bought a portable camera and started shooting for the cover. Somehow that made me the executive producer. We approached Dilla and he was like, Oh, hell yeah,” and in seven days, from start to finish, we completed Fantastic Vol. 1.

WAAJEED: Detroit native and member of the Platinum Pied Pipers; was the catalyst for the release of Fantastic Vol. 1; received first MPC from Jay Dee, which was allegedly broken by the Roots’ Ahmir Questlove” Thompson and left in Jay’s basement.

An early collaboration saw Jay Dee (as Yancey came to be know) join up with rapper MC Proof to form the Funky Cowboys, where he showcased his growing talent on drum machines and samplers like the Akai MPC60 and E-mu SP-12. The Fizzo”, an unreleased track by Dilla and Proof was made in 1994 and features Slum Village rapper T3.

While Dilla’s known for his otherworldly flair for sampling records and reinventing them, this cut from his debut solo album (made under his ‘Jay Dee’ alias) was recorded with live drums and bass. Magically though, it still possesses his trademark slanted rhythms and off-key swing.

I’m not fronting on Dilla, but we were also producers and other shit. There’s a lot of shit that we did on the album that people don’t necessarily know about. It’s a legacy with that. It’s a group effort.

Having been a fully fledged member of Slum Village in their early days, Dilla broke rank in the early 00s to pursue other creative outlets, but retained close ties to his old cohorts. In lesser hands, the ping-ponging drum track and space-age synths of ‘Let’s’ could have spiralled out of control, but Dilla’s deft board-work gives the vocals ample room to move.

Sam’s Jams is the weekly song selection of WDET’s creative producer Sam Beaubien, a longtime Detroit musician who also helms the soul-funk band Will Sessions. COMMON: MC, Los Angeles roommate, and longtime friend; Jay Dee production featured on every album from 2000’s Like Water for Chocolate to 2005’s Be.

To mark the upcoming release of his four-tracker ‘Reverie’ EP on his own label Beyond The Groove, Tom Misch warms up by sharing 10 of the best beats from one of his biggest inspirations, the late J Dilla.

Los Angeles – Day three of BET Experience brought some serious hip-hop heads to L.A. Live’s Club Nokia on Saturday night (June 27). Black Thought, Questlove and the rest of The Roots were joined by Erykah Badu and a grab bag of other artists to pay homage to their fallen friend James Dewitt Yancey, better known as J Dilla.

Many notable remixes appeared during the late 90s with Jay Dee and The Ummah’s recognisable flair on them. An issue of much contention surfaced when Janet Jackson released Got ‘til It’s Gone”, a track which sampled Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi”. Though the song officially credited Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis as producers, Yancey claimed in an interview that it was actually him behind the track.

The first evidence of a Dilla and De La collaboration was the title track to Stakes Is High, the group’s classic 1996 outing. By the time they recorded The Grind Date, De La had left long-term home Tommy Boy, but Dilla was on hand to anchor them, providing a widescreen backing on ‘Much More’, a cut that sees the producer push his trademark downbeat soul to epic proportions.

At the same time, this album is a reinvention of Dilla’s style for modern day rap. Several songs, including Gangsta Boogie” and bonus track The Sickness,” are obviously redone for the album’s release — Snoop Dogg raps about meeting Obama while wearing his house shoes.

J Dilla, aka Jay Dee (James Yancey), is a beat maker and rapper from Conant Gardens in Detroit. He was a founder of the iconic trio Slum Village, as well as a producer for other mainstream artists like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Erykah Badu, The Roots, The Pharcyde, Madlib and Common.

Dilla’s legacy is also this: he made every voice that rapped atop one of his beats sound its very best, whether it was Common or Ghostface, Q-Tip or Busta. ELZHI: Member of Slum Village; featured on 2001’s Welcome 2 Detroit.


But while lawyers did the dirty deeds they are handsomely paid to do, life carried on. February, the month of Yancey’s birth and death, had become a yearly focus for worldwide tributes and celebrations. Maureen, shut out of the estate, set up the J. Dilla Foundation as a non-profit organisation to help fund progressive music education programs. In April 2008, an unfinished version of the MCA album was leaked online and bootlegged on vinyl under the name Pay Jay, leading Erck to publish an ad in Billboard that summer stating he was the only person able to authorise use of Yancey’s intellectual property. By early 2011, when Alapatt returned to his position as creative director, there’d already been two posthumous albums. Momentum had been lost and Dilla’s legacy was a mess.

One of the best places to start your Dilla digging is probably Donuts”. Released in 2006 just three days after his death, he recorded the album on a portable sound system from his hospital bed. For the previous four years, Dilla had fought a battle against his health problems. Blood tests in 2002 had shown that he had both lupus as well as thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a blood disorder that causes microscopic thromboses to form in the blood vessels.


He already knew who I was and he actually had a couple of my records. From there I invited him to smoke a blunt and he was down so we chopped it up in the car. He was like, let’s do a joint, let’s do something,” so I said, what’s up with a beat tape,” and history was made from there.

This stunned response was one of many to Dilla’s unique approach to drums and bass, as he created a signature low-end sound that grooves and flows throughout each of his songs. His work with production groups like The Ummah, in which he collaborated with A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad led him to artists like the hip-hop supergroup Soulquarians. Dilla’s command of sampling did not only present in his technical skill with machines like the MPC, but also an incredible knack for sourcing jazz and soul records and bringing them to new heights.

AMP FIDDLER: I got to bragging and boasting about this kid I had at the crib, and Phife, Tip, and Ali were like, Yeah, yeah, right,” but they were listening to me at the same time, so I brought them a cassette and they were feeling it. When we got to Detroit, I went and picked up T3 and Jay Dee and made the introduction. It took Tip a while to get back, but he did, and everything else was history.

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