The great J Dilla would have turned a meager 37 years old today.
Too many hip hop, music fans in general are unaware of Dilla. Way too many! Rather than rush through a written tribute, I will briefly share my first experience with Dilla music.
It all started with my fascination with the Velvet Rope album, yes, that’s Janet Jackson circa 1997. There was a Grammy winning track with Q-Tip on there called ‘Got Till It’s Gone’, and I played that at least 1200 times on my Japanese roommates Mini Disc boom-box, which at the time, was the bomb diggity of music formats. That track was produced by J Dilla, but credit was given to a couple of other cats (including Q-Tip I believe). That was a fact that a close friend and part-time rapper informed me about one time when I was playing the track in my room (dude was like a walking Google search). It was the first time I had heard of Dilla, but it set into place an expectation of greatness, one which was met when he dropped SV’s Fantastic Vol. 2 in 2000. I was on the Dilla train…
The tribute video is great, but long. Here are some time markers that stick out.
(2:55) – Work Ethic Starts In The Basement
(7:35) – What To Listen For in A Dilla Beat
(9:10) – J.Dilla’s Range As A Producer. The King of Reinvention
(12:16) – Going Beyond His Influences
(14:39) – The Dilla Approach To Production
(20:21) – Jay The Producer vs Jay The MC
(26:08) – The Personal Side of J.Dilla
(29:04) – A Soldier Unstoppable!
(32:05) – Venturing Out. (as explained by Phat Kat)
(33:59) – Heading Home… Job Well Done.
(34:48) – We Salute You.