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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Legends in the Game: J Dilla aka Jay Dee

In '06, Hip-Hop lost one of the most revered producers in the game, J Dilla. The underground mainstay, born in Detroit, is an influence to many, and even in passing he is still doing his thing and receiving the accolades he has always deserved. From his humble beginnings as part of the group Funky Cowboy with the late Proof, to producing as part of The Ummah for A Tribe Called Quest, to producing for stars such as Busta Rhymes, Common, and Ghostface Killah, to releasing his own albums and underground beat tapes such as Ruff Draft and Champion Sound, to being the music force behind his own group Slum Village, J Dilla's legacy in the game is deep. He has done way more things and worked with many more people than I can fit in this post.

Over the years there had been rumors that he was in ill health as his output of material slowed (but never stopped), and the rumors were confirmed in 2006 when he was hospitalized for a rare disease called lupus. Even with the painful and eventually fatal disease, Dilla displayed an amazing ethic as he continued to work, and some of his last production was featured on Common's Be, Ghostface's Fishscale, and Busta Rhymes' The Big Bang.

Dilla is almost becoming the 2Pac of producers with several posthumous releases, such as the critically acclaimed albums Donuts and The Shining and tracks on upcoming albums such as Raekwon's Only Built for Cuban Links II. Many artists who have worked with and been inspired by Dilla speak about and do tributes to his legacy to ensure that his name and accomplishments will not be forgotten.

Below are just a few tracks of his most recent work. For more info and music check out his MySpace at

Ghostface Killah - Whip You With a Strap (produced by J-Dilla) (CLICK HERE TO PLAY or DOWNLOAD)

Busta Rhymes - You Can't Hold a Torch (featuring Q-Tip)(produced by J-Dilla)(CLICK HERE TO PLAY or DOWNLOAD)

The Roots - Can't Stop This (J-Dilla Tribute produced by J-Dilla)(CLICK HERE TO PLAY or DOWNLOAD)

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