Today marks another 365 since Detroit legend James Yancey aka J Dilla passed away.
A dozen years later, the game has changed; but the genius level work of Dilla still remains the same;
With a recognizable sound all his own, Dilla seemed to show up out of nowhere. But this man had been putting in work for years before many knew his name.
I remember hanging out with my guys, Frizell (R.I.P.) and Derrick, one time waaaay back in the day at their apartment. Derrick was an emcee who was in the same crew as Mad Skillz, and this was around the time/soon after Skillz dropped his “From Where???” album.
Apparently Skillz had left a beat tape (yes it was an actual beat tape which lets you know how long ago this was) at the fellas’ crib.
On one side there were beats by Rockwilder. On the other side there were beats from a lesser known cat at the time.
I remember hearing joints from both producers that night and being in awe. And I know a few of those beats turned into joints many of us would recognize today. But there was one that I vividly remember becoming a classic.
That one? Stakes is High.
That lesser known producer? J Dilla.
Big shout to all my Dilla fans and stans out there.
Rest in Peace to the legendary James Yancey.
Here are 5 of my personal favorites from Dilla.
Feel free to mention yours as well. It’s all love.