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Posts from February 2006

One Of Us

"[J Dilla's] work ethic, persistence and genius work says it all. I felt like he, along with Pete Rock and DJ Premier, was looking over my shoulder every record I listened to, and every beat I made. Funny thing is, although we were and will always be connected somehow, I never even had the pleasure to meet or talk to him."
-- quote from Little Brother member/producer 9th Wonder

Funeral services for James Yancey, better known as J Dilla (aka Jay Dee), were held on Tuesday (Feb. 14) in Los Angeles. Among the music diginitaries in attendence included Q-Tip, Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, Erykah Badu, D' Angelo, Common, Pete Rock, James Poysner, Busta Rhymes and many others.

"It was a closed casket. Something I approve of simply because the pain that his lupus condition left him in rendered him somewhat unrecognizable," wrote ?uestlove on his MySpace page about the services. "Before the pallbearers ([Slum Village producer] Kareem Riggins and Q-Tip, amongst them) took him out to the burial ground, I waited til the place emptied out somewhat til it was just me, Com, James Poysner, and Omar Edwards. I wanted to leave something with him. So I gave him my most personal possession.

"Dilla is the only person to whom I willingly let have my GOOD afropick (most of y'all are like, 'oh I got one too!' -- but the keyword is "good." I got about 50 of em. But only 8 "good" ones. Now I have 7 left.) This was the part in which all of us started balling.

"But then just like that in a 'snap' -- we was back to normal: 'We can't cry like this y'all . . . we all we got!' James pondered then quipped: 'Man . . . you mean I'm stuck with you?!'

"We laughed so hard."

After the funeral services, J. Dilla's mother, Ms. Maureen Yancey ("Momma Dilla"), sent her heartfelt thank yous and appreciation to the fans and artists who have supported J. Dilla's career.

If you would like to send monetary/chartiable donations to the Yancey Family, that information is located HERE. And please go cop J. Dilla's banging disc Donuts, which is in stores now.

In further developments, reports have surfaced that a memorial concert in honor of the late producer is being organized by fellow rhyme-spitters Common and Q-Tip.


Some of you may be wondering why all of the fuss and teary-eyed sob notes for a guy who simply made some great music.

Well, hip-hop entrepenuer Wes Jackson (HNIC of Sevenheads Entertainment) from the Swift Chancellor Report wrote a touching eulogy that really sums up what J Dilla meant to the hip-hop GLOBAL community.

Wes reflects:

Outside of Rob One Poetic from the Gravediggaz this is the 1st non Hip-Hop mega star that I can recall who has passed. And Jay Dee Was One Of Us. Backpacker, underground, purist, neo-Native Tongue, whatever label floats your boat.

He came up in the same era I did. His group rose through the same ranks the brothers I worked with did. And he didn't die from a drive by or an overdose. Nothing cinematic about lupus. His ailments like his music were things that every brother and sister could relate too. That makes it all the more tragic. That was what made it hurt so much on Friday.

But I tell you, that brother had a gift that I wish I had.
I hope that his passing will draw some attention to his work and hopefully stimulate a mind or two.

And I am not trying to lionize Jay because as I listened to some of those songs over the weekend I became reminded about his uh . . . less than PC subject matter. He wasn't perfect. Flawed like all of us. Materialistic, aggressive, insecure, all of that. But humble, dedicated, passionate, and driven as well.

This is so true -- J Dilla was indeed . . . "one of us."

He was you, me, your cousin, your brother, your favorite family member.

Some of today's rappers that are getting all of the radio airplay I can't relate to because they talk so much dumb shit on records. Most rappers today are like a distant relative, you hear crazy stories about them, but you have never met them in person -- so you can't relate.

But J. Dilla was different -- he was tangible to me. I felt like I have known him my whole life through his music. I felt a connection with him much like with my other extended musical family members that included the late Jimi Hendrix, Nina Simone and John Coltrane. I knew that Jay Dee love big beat hip-hop -- I can hear the enthusiasm in his voice whenever he yells "turn it up" on many of his "ANTHEMIC" songs (listen to Platinum Pied Pipers' head-nodder "Shotgun (intro)" from Triple P). And while listening to Champion Sound, I can feel both Jay and Malib's hip-hop spirit through the music as their sound pulsates in my ears.

So this bears repeating again . . .

R.I.P. J Dilla!


There's No One Illa . . .

Than J Dilla . . .

Can we have please have a moment of silence . . .

For one of the greatest beat maestros that has graced the hip-hop scene -- J Dilla aka Jay Dee aka J Dillinger.

J Dilla (real name James Yancey) died on Feb. 10 in Los Angeles of kidney failure brought on by complications of lupus, an often fatal disease in which the immune system, for unknown reasons, attacks healthy cells in the body. He was 32. J had been living with his mother in Los Angeles since being diagnosed with the immune system disease about three years ago, according to his manager, Timothy Maynor. "He was the best ever, and very underappreciated," he said. "Dilla was very reserved, quiet, all he wanted to do was make beats, make music. It wasn't about the glitz and glory. He wasn't doing it for the spotlight at all. He's a dinosaur who will be missed."

"His music inspired and touched me and a billion other people all around the world," rapper Oh No wrote on his MySpace page Friday. Dilla produced Oh No's song "Move" on his 2004 CD, The Disrupt. "What he represented in hip-hop and music was pure originality and style. The soundscapes he made helped me and just about everyone get thru some serious times. Dilla believed in me . . . when no one else did and that is real as it gets. I'm honored he was a part of my album and even had time to fit me in his busy schedule to smoke a blunt."

Take a look at J. Dilla's extensive discography, right HERE. The man was no joke behind the production boards.

You can also send your condolences and heartfelt wishes to Jay Dee's family at his MySpace page.

When I heard the news that J Dilla had left the earth, my heart sank into my stomach. I couldn't believe it. This is such a terrible lost to hip-hop. I have been a huge fan of Jay Dee's production work in recent months after hearing his beats on albums by the Platinum Pied Pipers, Med and, of course, Common's Be (plus Common's "The Movement" on the NBA 2K6 soundtrack). I was already familiar with his previous work with A Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde ("Runnin'" one of my all-time favorite rap joints) and Slum Village. So, for me, he represented a true hip-hop spirit -- a working-class hero on the grind creating some dope music.

I recently downloaded songs off his new instrumental disc, Donuts, from iTunes. I listen to those instrumental tracks for relaxation while I'm riding on the train to and from work. J Dilla's soothing beats eases my mind and makes my 2.5 hour trip bearable.

Blogger K of Analog Giant recently posted his favorite joints from the Donuts disc. To take a listen, click THIS.

In the upcoming days, I will also copped the Donuts disc itself and download more songs off of iTunes -- hopefully all of this support (monies) will go to J Dilla's family.

But this Motor City (Detroit) native was way more than just a "beatmaker." J Dilla was the face and sound of Detroit hip-hop. And like most Motor City natives, he grew up on soul music thanks to his mom and dad's music collection of Motown classics, Parliament-Funkadelic, Prince, Zapp and others. It's that "soul" foundation you will often hear when you listen to Jay's music. For example, listen to "Dolla" from soul crooner Steve Spacek's 2005 LP, Space Shift. Also, check out the soulful bounce of "Keep On" from Dwele's 2005 disc, Some Kinda . . . or peep his Welcome 2 Detroit compilation.

Music mack Todd Kelley has a great radio blog featuring J Dilla's outstanding production work -- both in R&B and hip-hop. Take a LISTEN.

Also . . .
Check out journalists Eskay's tribute and Q's eulogy to the late and great J Dilla.

Lou Rawls, Wilson Pickett, Gene McFadden, Coretta Scott King and now J Dilla . . . America is definitely losing its soul.

R.I.P. J Dilla (1974-2006)

I will miss you deeply, Jay Dee.
Keep it banging up there in heaven for us.


Why Ask Why?

Blogger/writer Nikki recently posted something that happens to me all of the time when I'm riding on the train in the morning going to work.

Nikki writes in her post titled "Why":

Why is it that when you're the only Black person out somewhere, whether that be a restaurant, boutique, etc., and then another Black person walks into the place acting a complete fool, all of the White people turn their eyes towards you like you can do something to stop the other Black person from cuttin' up?

Hell, I don't know that motherfucker either. Don't expect me to make him or her shut up. I can only speak for Nikki. That person has his or her own agenda, so don't include me in it!

Why are we constantly trying to defend the actions of someone of our own race?

I don't understand it myself sometimes.

Every morning, when I'm riding the rush hour train to work reading my newspaper I have to witness something stupid from my own race. Of course, every White person on the train is looking at me weird already as if they find it an oddity to see an African-American reading a newspaper.

And then . . . here comes this nigger other Black person.

He boards the train bopping his head to rap music yelling out loud profanity-laced lyrics, not realizing that it's 8:30 a.m., and no one -- including this rap writer -- is in the mood to hear his rendition of "Smack a hoe, fuck a nigga, fuck a trick." Then all of the sudden, this clown starts jumping up and down on the seat. And I'm like, "Why is this fool, jumping up and down on the seat like a monkey?"

Folks, I love rap music next to water, but I'll be damn if I'm going to be jumping up and down on a seat over any rap song.

Come to find out, he's listening to what I believe is a "tear-in-the-club-up" song from Three Six Mafia, so this fool thinks he's at a club.

Of course, all of the White people on the train turned their eyes towards me like I can do something to stop this dumb po-po niggero from chanting "Fuck you trick . . . Fuck you trick . . . Suck this dick . . . Suck this dick!" The look on the White people faces' says it all, "Excuse me nigger, can you please tell your nigger friend to stop jumping up and down on the seat like a monkey."

Sometimes I wonder . . .


In the comment section, Dragonflypurity asked the question: I mean there are just as many crazy ass, ignorant white folks out there as in each minority group, isn't there?

The answer to that question is . . . yes! Check out FoxxyLove's POST about what some crazy-ass White folks did at her recent house party. [EDIT]


Check On It

This sexy and single Sagittarius is currently enrolled in college studying to become a nurse; but when she's not helping the sick, she's making temperatures rise as an up-and-coming model. Her measurements are an eye-raising 34-25-39 and she's striving to become as multi-talented as her favorite singer -- Beyoncé. And much like the bootylicious diva, if you like what you see, you can come over and check up on it . . . but proceed with caution. "A guy should always approach me with confidence [and] respect," she says. "Just don't walk up too aggressive touching or grabbing, that type of approach gets you nowhere with me." To check out her photos, click THIS.

Also, check out Bubba Sparxxx's new video for "Ms. New Booty," right HERE.