The morning after J Dilla passed away in 2006, I grabbed as many of his records as I could find and quickly rushed together a live mix for my radio show. Many of these artists he worked with, such as Waajeed, Sa-Ra and Spacek, have also gone under the radar, but Dilla knew best. Words can’t even begin to describe the scope and importance of his sound, and his influence looms larger than ever. I can’t even imagine what he would have went on to do. There are some great Dilla mixes these days from people like J Rocc, who were an authority on his work, so i’ve never tried to do a more complete effort since. I listen back to this one every so often and it’s got a certain charm, even though I could only find a certain amount of his records, and many more had yet to be released. I hope you enjoy it and if you don’t know about Jay Dee aka J Dilla, there’s no better time to start learning! He was the greatest ever hip-hop producer as far as I’m concerned.
ay Dee/Dilla Tribute Mix February 11th 2006 Black on Red
A Tribe Called Quest feat Jay Dee-That Shit
Slum Village-I Don't Know
A Tribe Called Quest-Find A Way
Que Dee-Rock Box
Q Tip-Let's Ride
Jaydee-Fuck the Police
Wale Ojedide feat Dilla-There's A War Goin On
Jaylib/Talib Kweli-Raw Shit
Amp Fiddler-I Believe In You (Jaylib Mix)
JayDee/Frank N Dank-Pause
Platinum Pied Pipers-Shotgun (Remix)
J88-Get It Together
Slum Village-/D'Angelo-Tell Me
Nine Yards-Always Find a Way (Jay Dee Mix)
J88-The Look of Love
J88/Slum Village-The Look of Love Part 2
De La Soul-Stakes is High (Remix)
Common, Erykah Badu, Pharrell, Q Tip-Come Close (Remix)
Keith Murray-The Rhyme
A Tribe Called Quest-Wordplay
A Tribe Called Quest-Stressed Out
Slum Village-Climax (Girl Shit)
A Tribe Called Quest-Against the World
Brand New Heavies-Sometimes
Jazzy Jeff feat Slum Village-Are You Ready?
Phife Dawg-Bend Ova
Jay Dee/Frank N Dank-Take Them Clothes Off
Slum Village-Raise It Up
De La Soul-Much More
Slum Village-Disco (What's It All About)
Common-It's Your World
Some words on him, from my Evening Echo column
It’s 10 years this week since hip-hop lost arguably it’s most influential producer. J Dilla, originally known as James Yancey or Jay Dee, was barely 30 when he died from a rare blood disease. He was already heralded as a genius by those in the know, but the years following his death have only added to his reputation. A number of important releases at around the time of his death added to his legacy, and 10 years on he is rightly revered by many music fans as one of the best.
I first of heard of Jay Dee in the mid 90s and like many young hip-hop fans i’d been reading about this mysterious young detroit producer who had help shape classics from the Pharcyde, a Tribe Called Quest and De la Soul. All of these tracks were huge for me as a DJ but there was a degree of confusion regarding the input of Jay Dee, as many were credited simply to the Ummah production team, including Q Tip and Ali of A Tribe Called Quest. Subsequently we found that Jay Dee played a pivotal role here, particularly with a massive Grammy winning release by Janet Jackson that sounded identical to his sound.
He may have been largely uncredited, but those in hip-hop became very aware of Jay Dee by the time his group Slum Village came through officially in the late 90’s. Seen as heirs to A Tribe Called Quest, Slum Village arrived at a time when hip-hop was in a bit of turbulence, but their music made a big impact. Jay Dee, soon to be known as J Dilla (to avoid confusion with r&b producer JD), was very prolific in these years but record company politics often disrupted his solo career and great work for the likes of Frank-N-Dank.
Dilla became frustrated and concentrated more on independent music, and even started rapping more . Classics such as “Ruff Draft” and “Champion Sound” with Madlib soon followed, but Dilla soon became ill and he sadly passed away at the time of the release of his incredible “Donuts” exactly 10 years ago this week. “The Shining” and many more posthumous releases followed, but it’s fair to say that it took a lot of people even in hip-hop a couple of more years to appreciate the importance of J Dilla. For someone up there with the Primos of the world, he was largely slept on by many throughout his lifetime, but there’s no danger these days of him being ignored.
Ten years on the world knows about Dilla. His little brother played here last friday, his beat tapes get full releases, various labels still churn out his music and music fans the world over adorn t shirts with his name. The Dilla industry is sometimes getting a little vulgar but there are many people who’s hearts are in the right places too. This Sunday lunchtime at the Quarter Block party myself and Colm K pay homage and mark his birthday at Vinyl Love in Gulpd, and this is just one of a multitude of events happening worldwide, as we celebrate one of the greatest ever. We will be playing his records from 12-4pm free entry.