Friday, February 10, 2006

R.I.P. J. Dilla, 1974-2006

a.k.a. "Jay Dee" (the name change was to avoid being confused with the other, wack "J.D.") a.k.a. James Yancey, famed hip-hop producer and one of my personal favorites. As 1/3rd of The Ummah w/ Ali Shaheed Muhammed & Q-Tip, he broke onto the scene in '96 working on A Tribe Called Quest's last 2 albums, making his niche with beats comprised of soul samples and heavy drum kicks. He was also 1/3rd of Slum Village, one of the 1st hip-hop groups to rep Detroit, as an MC and producer on their '00 debut "Fantastic, Vol. 2", which was highly praised for its simplistic yet head-nodding production. In '03, he collaborated w/ Madlib (of "Madvillain" fame) to create "Champion Sound" under the name "Jaylib", an album in which Dilla and Madlib exchanged rapping and production duties on every other track, making for one of the most creative hip-hop albums of recent years. A little while later, Dilla's kidney problems became publicized, and tour pictures showed he was visibly losing weight. His latest solo work, an instrumental album titled "Donuts", was released this past Tuesday, and Dilla was touring to promote the album at the time of his death. Here's a quick list of some of the bigger songs he's played a part in making:

The Pharcyde - "Runnin'", "Drop"
A Tribe Called Quest - "Find A Way", "1nce Again"
Q-Tip - "Vibrant Thing"
Common - "The Light", "Love Is"
De La Soul - "Stakes Is High"
Busta Rhymes - "Woo Hah! Got You All In Check (Remix)" feat. Ol' Dirty Bastard

Once again, R.I.P.