Today marks 16 years since music producer J Dilla‘s passing. Now, what I could do is make this thing really sombre and give whatever facts I had zero knowledge about that I found on Google. Or, I could just tell you what I love about his artistry, talk about J Dilla beats and celebrate his life man. Let’s do the latter yo.
This man is your “favourite producer’s favourite producer” and that’s a fact. Lookup any interview, check out a Q&A on IG live or something. They’re all going to say the same thing. This man was special. This is the same man that did not read the manual to operate an MPC 3000. Have I used one before? No. Do I understand the difficulty of trying to do/build something complex with zero instructions? Definitely. The man just figured it out and ended up revolutionizing the way people used it. He would intentionally play the beat patterns “off-beat” and it birthed a unique sound that’s been carried on through present-day music. It changed what you heard on the radio because it didn’t quite fit into a traditional hip-hop sound. It was against the grain at the time and he was the master of it.
To be real, I’m probably not even showing enough appreciation for what this man did. The man changed the sound of music as we know it. His influence is all over the place. Lo-fi, Neo-Soul, and of course Hip-Hop. He was not only one of the founders of Slum Village but he also worked with artists such as Madlib, Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, Common, Busta Rhymes, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and Pharcyde. He influenced artists such as Kanye West, Big Sean, Joey Bada$$, and J. Cole just to name a few.
A man from Detroit, Michigan changed the game and he’s one of many reminders that producers are so crucial to Hip-Hop. Without them, none of this happens.
Here are 10 J Dilla beats that I think you should check out:
*Disclaimer: they are in no particular order, all of the songs (along with many others) should be celebrated in their own right*
J Dilla – Time: The Donut of the Heart
Phat Kat – Don’t Nobody Care About Us
Busta Rhymes – Woo Hah!! Got You All in Check (The Jay-Dee Bounce Remix)