Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rhymes & Life: Dilla Day

Today marks the 4 year anniversary of Donuts and today would've been J Dilla's 36th birthday.

James Dewitt Yancey (February 7, 1974 – February 10, 2006), better known by the stage names J Dilla and Jay Dee, was an American Grammy Nominated record producer who emerged from the mid-1990s underground hip hop scene in Detroit, Michigan. According to his obituary at, he "was one of the music industry's most influential hip-hop artists, working for big-name acts like De La Soul, Busta Rhymes and Common."

Yancey's career began slowly. He has now become highly regarded, most notably for the production of critically acclaimed albums by Common, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, and The Pharcyde. He was a member of Slum Village for their acclaimed debut album Fantastic, Vol. 2.

In the early 2000s, Yancey's career as a solo artist began to improve; A solo album Welcome 2 Detroit was followed by a collaborative album with California producer Madlib, Champion Sound, which catalyzed the careers of both artists. Just as his music was becoming increasingly popular, Yancey died in 2006 of the blood disease TTP.

Following his death, the hip hop community became centered upon the music and image of J Dilla. Many of the artists with whom Yancey worked performed or recorded tributes, and a large group of followers voiced their support for the late musician. Yancey's music experienced a rebirth as the producer gained many times more listeners than he had during his life, partly due to media exposure. Though several posthumous albums have been released and others are planned, the massive amounts of unreleased recordings by the producer remain somewhat undetermined. Yancey's estate has also been controverted.

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