HHE Looks Back At The Career of The Late J Dilla (Video Inside)
Today marks the day that legendary producer J Dilla came into this world. Since he broke into the national spotlight as part of Slum Village, the Detroit native has inspired many with his life. While many may not be familiar with his name, I’m sure that you are aware of some of his work.
Music was in him from birth. His mother Maureen Yancey was a former opera singer spoke about Dilla’s early love of music in an interview with NPR
“Dilla’s interest in music started at age 2,” his mother says. “Dilla carried 45s on his arm and turntables to the park every day, to spin records — and this was in downtown Detroit.”
That early love of music and passion to learn and know as much about it as possible is what eventually would go on to make him great. Dilla provided the soundtrack for Common’s first certified hit record, “The Light,” laying the groundwork for Common to go from being a underground fan favorite to a Gold selling artist. He worked with Q-Tip after Tip ventured out on his own after a split with A Tribe Called Quest. The result was the high-speed, strings and frantic drum pattern on the classic “Breathe & Stop.” As much success he had with emcees, he wasn’t just locked into doing hip-hop. As part of the ?uestlove founded production crew, The Soulquarians, Dilla was able to contribute his talents to Erykah Badu. He would go on to produce several tracks her sonically stellar Lp “Mama’s Gun.” His work included the hit, “Didn’t Cha Know.” He would go on to become a frequent collaborator for Common and The Roots. Producers like Kanye West and Pharrell openly speak about Jay Dilla’s influence. It was said that before he passed he was working on his own album, one where he just rapped. That project never got the chance to see the light of day.
Working so hard and being so productive over the years can blind people to problems, especially health issues . While many were watching Dilla churn out hit after hit, he was suffering on the inside. Dilla was diagnosed with lupus. He would pass away February 10th 2006, 3 days after his birthday. While he may never be as big of a household name as say Pharrell or Kanye West, two producers who he influenced, his legacy will live on.
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