Questlove on Why J Dilla Was the Best Rap Producer of All Time
It was six years ago today (February 10) that J Dilla lost his fight with lupus and TTP. The Detroit native had already left a lasting mark on music, but seemed to only be scratching the surface of what he was capable of. Dilla lent his touch to tracks for A Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, Common, Mos Def, Slum Village, The Pharcyde, and, of course, The Roots, among others. The Philadelphia-based band’s drummer, Questlove, was a good friend of Dilla’s. He also happens to be one of the most knowledgeable, talented and celebrated musicians that hip-hop has to offer, having worked with everyone from hip-hop icons like Jay-Z to mainstream darlings like John Mayer and Christina Aguilera. He also thinks that his friend was the greatest rap producer of all time. Here, he helps celebrate Dilla’s legacy, as he tells XXL what it was about Jay Dee’s sound, style and approach that was so amazing. —As Told to Adam Fleischer (@adamXXL)
Joey Bada$$ has linked up with Akomplice clothing for a capsule collection that commemorates J Dilla's legacy. Included in this bundle is “Two Lips,” which features Joey rapping over an unreleased Dilla beat. 100% of the proceeds from this collection will be donated to the J Dilla Foundation, a non-profit organization created by Dilla’s mother Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey that provides musical instruments and music lessons to underprivileged children. They’re keeping the dream of music and hope alive. Joey Bada$$’ “Two Lips” will be released on November 29.
Delicious Vinyl will soon release Sunset Blvd., the all new album from Yancey Boys, the group piloted by John “Illa J” Yancey and Frank Nitt. The dynamic new collection is built around previously unheard tracks created by Illa J’s brother: the late, great J Dilla (James Yancey). With Frank Nitt’s standing as J Dilla Music Catalog Curator and the official approval of Yancey Media Group, all productions on Sunset Blvd. originate from The Lost Scrolls — the stunning cache of beats Dilla left behind.
The first official single from Sunset Blvd. is “Quicksand” with features Common & Dezi Paige. And the B-Side is no sleeper; “The Fisherman” is a full-court press featuring a chorus from Vice and blistering rhymes from Detroit Serious and cuts by J.Rocc of Beat Junkies. The track is, as Frank Nitt promises, “guaranteed to make you bang your head!” Nitt also reminds us that “this isn’t a nostalgia trip: Dilla’s beats were so future-forward that they’re right on time in 2013.”