There’s a musician with a special place in my heart, one that I will always listen to no matter the mood, weather or place. How many musicians do you know that releases hours of music from beyond the grave? Even today i’m able to discover new content from this revolutionary producer. Nate Patrin over at Pitchfork puts it perfectly in his article ‘Got ‘Til It’s Gone: The Legacy of J Dilla’ – “One of the most omnipresent producers of 2009 was a man who had passed away in 2006”
Check out the rest of the article here:
James Dewitt Yancey or as he’s more commonly known J Dilla was born in Detroit, Massachusetts to a family of performers (his mother a singer and his father a Jazz multi-instrumentalist). Dilla began producing beats at a the young age of 11, his first label signing came as part of 1st Down with Phat Kat in the mid nineties, they were signed by Pay Day records, but the life of the group didn’t last long. Due to complications with the label they only released one 12” single “A Day With The Homiez” in 1995. In 1996, Dilla focused back on his other project Slum Village, a group he’d been in since school, it only took a year after Dilla got a taste of the music industry for him to release Fantastic, Vol. 1 in 1996 with them.
Now, Jay can put his name to 70+ albums Spanning around 10 years. Artists from De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, Janet Jackson, The Roots, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Joey Bada$$, Nas (I could go on and on, but you get the idea, the guy got around) Not only did he work with some of the greats but he influenced them as well.
Here in a video at around 5:58 Flea (who is the bassist in the globally successful rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers) starts to tear up while talking about his love for Jay:
SIDE NOTE – This video is from a VERY cool video series from music retailer Amoeba called ‘What’s In My Bag?’. Celebrities get invited to a music store and choose out some of their favourite records, after choosing they talk about why they have chosen each pick.
An episode to highlight would be when electronic producer Floating Points chose a surprising eclectic mix.
Back to Jay Dee, Dilla died of Cardiac arrest in 2006 after a long fight with the blood disease thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. The disease caused him to be wheelchair bound and affected his health, Dilla still carried on making music from his bed and performing shows from his chair.
Phife from A Tribe Called Quest spoke about his feeling towards J Dilla in his track ‘Dear Dilla’ it has a reference to him creating from his hospital bed in the video too, watch below:
Also, you can see footage of Jay performing from his wheelchair here:
So, now that you are familiar with J Dilla and his work, this is what sparked this blog post. This is a 2012 tribute video for Jay, the Suite For Ma Dukes Orchestra play a rendition of Dilla’s ‘Fall In Love’.
In this video you can see friends, family and fans sharing the experience and remembering Jay. The footage even has the original vocalist sing the original melody with the orchestra.
You get the feeling while watching that Dilla’s spirit is there bopping along with the rest of them.
A final, final note: Shout out to Mango Juice Music for the cover image, last year they released a tribute album on Dilla’s birthday.
Check it out here: