Electronic Spotlight: Tributes to J Dilla

Words By Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)

Detroit born-and-raised producer James Dewitt Yancey, aka J Dilla and Jay Dee, left us too early at the young age of 32. His legacy remains, however, as he made and continues to make countless impressions on the world with his everlasting beats. To honor the underground hip-hop legend, here are some tribute songs and remixes performed by just a few of the many who fell in love with his music...

Flying Lotus paid his respect to Dilla by reworking some of the producer’s tracks in his own electronic style. Here is his remake of “Fall In Love”, originally done by Dilla’s early rap group, Slum Village.

Influential far beyond the hip-hop community, J Dilla’s music had a deep impact on many popular musicians including the funk supergroup Lettuce. Appearing on the band’s 2008 album, Rage!, check out their tribute to the fallen artist, titled “Mr. Yancey”.

The Roots used the beat of J Dilla’s “Time: The Donut of the Heart” for the song “Can’t Stop This” off their 2007 album Game Theory. Emcee Black Thought is featured throughout the tune, rapping about the importance of Dilla’s music and the effect it had on his life.

Common’s 2007 release Finding Forever was entirely tributed to J Dilla. Using methods similar to J Dilla when cutting up samples for the tracks, the album was produced by Kanye West and contains this track, “Forever Begins”, a tune that speaks of his former collaborator’s passing and subsequent legacy.




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