R.I.P. Jay Dee aka J Dilla
Jay Dee aka J Dilla (James Dewitt Yancey) was born February 7th 1974 was the oldest of four children growing up on the east side of Detroit. He grew up in a musical family with his father being a jazz bassist and his mother being a former opera singer. He found his craving for hip-hop music when he transferred to Detroit Pershing High School and met fellow classmates T3 and Baatin. The three would later form the group Slum Village. Jay Dee would spend all his time alone in the basement working on his music and aspiring to be like Pete Rock. Jay Dee and MC Phat formed 1st Down in 1995 and were the first hip hop group to sign a major label. They inked with Payday Records which was short lived ending after just 1 single when the label folded. He moved onto to record the album “Yester Years” EP with 5 Elementz which was made up of Proof, Thyme and Mudd. The following year Slum Village formed with his high school classmates T3 and Baatin. The three recorded their debut album “Fan-Tas-Tic (Vol. 1) which dropped in 1997 and soon became legendary in Detroit hip hop.
He linked up with Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest and made songs as The Ummah which was a production collection of Dilla, Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad , they were later joined by Raphael Sadadiq as well). Dilla worked in the mid 1990’s with major artsist such as Pharcyde, Janet Jackson, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, & Tribe. He worked on Q-Tips solo album along with Common’s “Like Water for Chocolate”, Pharcyde’s “Labcabincalifornia and many more like Talib Kweli, Erykah Badu, & Poe. In 2001 he changed over to J Dilla to distinguish a difference between him and Jermaine Dupri who would go by JD. Dilla would go onto work on a number of different projects with MC Madlib creating the combo Jaylib but his illness grew and it showed how seriously sick he was when he performed from a wheel chair on tour in Europe in Nov 2005. J Dilla passed away on February 10th 2006 just 3 days after his 32nd birthday. Dilla is still an everyday name in the hip-hop community and has had tons of music released after his passing.