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Celebrating the Life and Death of the Genius Jay Dee: J Dilla on His Birthday

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One of the biggest blows to the musical community (hip-hop in particular), was the tragic passing of J Dilla back on February 10th, 2006. Cardiac arrest stemming from his lifelong battle with the rare blood disease thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) also known as Moschcowitz Syndrome and lupus was the cause. Fans will remember the night-and-day weight loss fluctuations back in 2003, and how right before the end, he was performing in a wheelchair.

Jay Dee was born James D. Yancey on February 7, 1974, in the musically and automotively proud town of Detroit, Michigan.


The young James was immediately taken by the beauty and possibilities of vinyl records and began spinning at an early age. It wouldn't be until the early '90s when he would slowly come into focus with some serious production and rapping skills. These were honed in the darkness of the basement, as read from the pages of the geekiest fairy tale you could imagine.

From there, along with his partners in Slum Village, it would be a short jump to comparisons with the second Golden Age of Hip-Hop (the Native Tongues elements, Wu Tang, etc...) and the harsher Swizz Beats/DMX Ruff Ryders camps. 


Needless to say, you can take the basement from the socially awkward, but you can't take the socially awkward from the basement. Eschewing this unnecessary pressure, Dilla made a career out of the underground whilst continuously honing his skills and becoming an ever-increasingly powerful producer for a throng of artists as diverse as MC Madlib, Mos Def, Raekwon, and Common. 

While it has been another type of battle posthumously for the Dilla estate, at least a steady trickle of work since his passing has arisen that you can chalk up to the eternal tinkering of the genius. Please enjoy a couple of our favorite tracks below and make sure that if you're at work, you play them loud. Only a douche-nozzle of a boss with no taste would protest. Fuck 'em! 

In the meantime, here are a couple of places you might consider the next time you're in a giving mood: The Lupus Foundation of America, the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network, and the J Dilla Foundation

J Dilla - "Fuck the Police" 
I can't think of a better retort/response/moment of sassiness than this. Play it loud. 


J Dilla - "E=MC²" 
Can you picture a wild-haired scientist two bottles deep getting down? We can. 


J Dilla - "You Can't Hold a Torch" 
I shall endeavor to make love to a beautiful woman once again with this track looping in the background. 


Slum Village - "Forth & Back" 


J Dilla - "Last Donut of the Night" 
Don't we all feel this way at least once in our lives? 


Dilla, thanks for the music, may your soul forever rest in beats!!!

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