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An Eulogy for J DIlla aka Jay Dee (James Yancey)

BY Quibian Salazar-Moreno

The first time I heard J Dilla's music was when I heard Pharcyde's single "Runnin" from their 1996 LabcabinCalifornia. It had to be one of the best beats that dropped that year. It was very inspiring that hip-hop could be so melodic while at the same not losing its edge.

Then I saw his name again, Jay Dee inside the album covers of Busta Rhyme's "The Coming", A Tribe Called Quest's "Beats Rhymes & Life" and De la Soul's "Stakes is High" which is one of my favorite tracks of all time.

1996 was a good year for music and J Dilla was responsible for most of the dope stuff that dropped that year. Later, I found out he produced most of Tribe's last two albums as part of The Ummah. After that you could see "Jay Dee Remix" all over the place, and you knew it was going to be hot. Whether it was Jay Dee's remix of Janet Jackson's "Got Till It's Gone" in 1997 or Common's "The Light" with Erykah Badu, Jay Dee had soul... hip-hop soul.

Of course, Dilla is mostly know for his work with his group Slum Village and producing Common's "Like Water for Chocolate" and "Electric Circus". He impressed me even more with his collaboration album with Madlib where they were known as Jaylib and dropped "Champion Sound".

But my favorite Jay Dee project was his solo joint, "Welcome 2 Detroit", great beats, fresh MCs.... the lyrical prowess of Elzhi was introduced on that album. J Dilla was/is the future of hip-hop music... and the future is now. He was so ahead of his time...

Jay Dee died on February 10, 2006. He has been sick for most of 2005 due to problems with his liver. Over the summer he appeared to be getting better and worked on a couple of projects including his own album, "Donuts". It just dropped last week.

Here's a pretty conclusive disocgraphy of J. Dilla's work:


Artist Titles (As Producer and/or MC):
1st Down - No Place To Go 12" single 1993
1st Down - A Day Wit The Homiez
12" Single 1995 (Pay Day Records)
Slum Village - Fan-Tas-Tic 12" single 1996
Slum Village - Fan-Tas-Tic (Vol. 1) CD/LP 1996 (Donut Boy Recordings) 1997 (Sudden Impact)
Slum Village - We Be Down 12" single 1997 (Sudden Impact)
Jay Dee - Jay Dee Unreleased (Remixes) 12" EP 1997 (House Shoes Records)
Slum Village - Somethin' For The People, All I Do (Remix) from "All I Do" 12" single 1997 (WB)
Slum Village - Fantastic Vol. 2 CD/LP 2000 (Goodvibe) 2002 (Capitol)
J-88 - Look Of Love (Remix) 12" single 1999 (Groove Attack)
J-88 - Best Kept Secret 12" EP 2000 (Groove Attack)
Jay Dee - Fuck The Police/Move, feat. Frank N Dank 12" single 2001 (Up Above)
Jay Dee feat. Frank-N-Dank - Pause 12" single 2001 (BBE)
Jay Dee - Welcome 2 Detroit CD/LP 2001 (BBE)
1st Down - A Day Wit The Homiez CD 2002 (RonnieCash.com)
Jay Dee - Instrumental Series Vol 1 12" EP 2002 (Bling47.com)
Jay Dee feat. Frank N Dank - Take Dem Clothes Off/Off Ya Chest 12" single 2002 (ABB)
Jaylib - The Message from Stones Throw Summer 2002 12" EP (Stones Throw)
Jay Dee -Instrumental Series Vol.2: Vintage 2003 CD/LP (Bling47.com)
Jay Dee - Ruff Draft 12" EP 2003 (Mummy/Groove Attack)
Jaylib - The Red/The Official 12" single 2003 (Stones Throw)
Jaylib - Champion Sound/Strip Club
12" single 2003 (Stones Throw)
Jaylib - Champion Sound
CD/LP 2003, and Champion Sound Instrumentals LP 2004 (Stones Throw)
Jaylib - Raw Addict/Ice 12" single 2003 (Stones Throw)
Jaylib - McNasty Filth/Pillz 12"/CD single 2004 (Stones Throw)
Jaylib - Blaze Up, The Mission (Remix) from Stones Throw 101 Mix CD 2004 (Stones Throw)
Jaylib - Popshit from Stones Throw 100 12" EP 2004 (Stones Throw)
J Dilla - Welcome 2 Detroit Instrumentals CD/LP 2005 (BBE)
J Dilla - Donuts: The EP 12" EP 2005 (Promotional)
J Dilla - Donuts CD/LP 2006

MC only:
Tami Hert - If You Were Mine (Detroit Demolition Mix) from "If You Were Mine" 12" single 1997 (550 Music)
v/a - Fight Club, feat. Dilla, Nottz & Boogie from "Best Kept Secret Mix" CD 2003 (Bling47.com)
Dabrye - Game Over 12" single 2004 (Ghostly International)
Wale Oyejide - There's A War Going On 12" single 2004 (Shaman Work)
Wale Oyejide - There's A War Going On from "One Day, Everything Changed" CD/LP 2004 (Shaman Work)
Slum Village - Reunion from "Detroit Deli" CD/LP 2004 (Barak/Capitol)
Pete Rock - Niggaz Know from "Soul Survivor II" CD/LP 2004 (Rapster /BBE)
v/a - Do Your Thang, Stupid from "BR Gunna Presents Dirty District Vol. 2" CD 2004 (Barak)
Phat Kat - Door from "The Undeniable LP" (New Version) CD/LP 2004 (Barak)
Lawless Element - Love (feat. Jay Dilla) 2005
Platinum Pied Pipers - Act Like You Know feat J Dilla 12" single 2005 (Ubiquity)
Platinum Pied Pipers - Shotgun, Act Like You Know from Triple P CD/LP 2005 (Ubiquity)
Sa-Ra - Thrilla feat. J Dilla 12" single 2005 (Sound in Color)
Diamond - We Gangstas from Diamond Mine CD 2005
Platinum Pied Pipers - Shotgun (Remix) from 12" single 2005 (Ubiquity)

Production Credits (by year):

Da Enna C - NOW from "Throw Ya Hands In Da Air" 12" single 1994 (Up Top)
Little Indian - One Little Indian 12" single 1995 (Premeditated)
Poe - Fingertips from "Hello" CD/LP 1995 (WEA / Atlantic)

5-Elementz - Whutchawant
, Feed Back, Rockshows, Party Groove, Janet Jacme, E.G.O., Don't Stop, Searchin from "The Album Time Forgot" cassette 1996 (That Was Entertainment)
A Tribe Called Quest - 1nce Again, Get A Hold, Keeping It Moving, Stressed Out, Word Play from "Beat, Rhymes, & Life" CD/LP 1996 (Jive Records)
Busta Rhymes - Keep It Movin', Still Shinin' from "The Coming" CD/LP 1996 (Elektra)
Busta Rhymes - Woo-Hah!! (Jay-Dee Bounce Remix), Woo-Hah!! (Jay-Dee Other Shit Remix) 12" single 1996 (Elektra)
Busta Rhymes - It's a Party (Ummah Remix), Ill Vibe (Ummah Remix) 12" single 1996 (Elektra)
De La Soul - Stakes Is High from "Stakes Is High" CD/LP 1996 (Tommy Boy)
De La Soul - Stakes Is High (Remix) from Itzsoweezee 12" single 1996 (Tommy Boy)
Mad Skillz - It's Going Down, The Jam from "From Where???" 1996 (Big Beat)
Kieth Murray - The Rhyme (Remix), Dangerous Ground from "Enigma" 1996 (Jive)
Natives Of Da Underground - Pack Da Hous/Brotha's Juss Don't Know/Whatcha Gonna Do? 12" single 1996 (ALR)
Phife Dawg - Game Day from "NFL Jams" 1996 (Castle)
Proof - Da Science from "Detroit Hip Hop Volume 1" 1996 Modern Tribe
Proof - Vibe Session from "Anywhere" 12" single 1996 (Hip Hop Shop)
Tha Pharcyde - Runnin', Bullshit, Splatittorium, Somethin' That Means Somethin', Drop, Y? from "Labcabincalifornia" CD/LP 1996 (Delicious Vinyl)

5-Elementz - Sun Flower from "Yester Years" 12" EP 1997 (That Was Entertainment)
A Tribe Called Quest - Get A Hold, Mardi Gras At Midnight from "Jam" EP 1997 (Jive Records)
Brand New Heavies - Sometimes (Ummah Remix) from "Sometimes" 12" single 1997 (Delicious Vinyl)
Busta Rhymes - So Hardcore from "When Disaster Strikes" CD/LP 1997 (Elektra)
Crustation - Purple (ATCQ Edit) 12" single 1997 (Zomba)
Janet Jackson - Got Til It's Gone (Ummah Jay Dee Revenge Mix) 12" single 1997 (Virgin)
T Da Pimp - Why You Lookin Hard?/We Knowwe Rockit 12" single 1997 (Penmp)
Tha Pharcyde - She Said (Remix) 12" single 1997 (Delicious Vinyl)
Tha Pharcyde - Runnin (Remix), Y? (Remix) from "Drop" 12" single 1997 (Delicious Vinyl)
Truz - True Dawgs/Routes To Hell 12" single 1997 (Ad Fam)

A Tribe Called Quest - 4 Moms
, Against The World, Busta's Lament, Da Booty, Find A Way, His Name Is Mutty Ranks, Start It Up, Steppin' It Up from "The Love Movement" CD/LP 1998 (Jive Records)
A Tribe Called Quest - That Shit from "Funkmaster Flex Vol. 3" 1998 (Loud Records)
Bizarre - Butterfly from Attack of the Wierdos 12" EP 1998 (Federation)
Mood - Secrets Of The Sand (Remix) from "Snake Backs" 12" single 1998 (Blunt)
N'Dea Davenport - Bullshittin (Remix) from "N'Dea Davenport" CD/LP 1998 (V2)

5 Ela - You Ain't Fresh, Ain't No Love from 5-E Pt. 3 1999 (That Was Entertainment)
Brand New Heavies - Saturday Night (Jay Dee Remix) from "Saturday Night" 12" single 1999 (Delicious Vinyl)
Heavy D - Listen from "Heavy" CD/LP 1999 (Universal)
Macy Gray - I Try (Remix) 12" single 1999 (Epic)
Nine Yards - Always Find A Way (Remix) 12" single 1999 (Virgin)
Phat Kat - Dedication To The Suckers 12" single 1999 (House Shoes Recordings)
Phife Dawg - Bend Ova/Thought U Wuz Nic
12" single 1999 (Groove Attack)
Que D - Underestimated, Supa Shit, Kilo, Cash Flow, Michelle, Rock Box, Don't Stop from "Quite Delicious" cassette 1999 and "Que D Limited Edition" CD 2003 (Royal Flyness)
Q-Tip - 11 tracks from "Amplified" CD/LP 1999 (Arista)
The Roots - Dynamite from Things Fall Apart CD/LP 1999 (MCA)
The Roots - New Year's @ Jay Dee's from "You Got Me" CD single 1999 (MCA)
Zooco - Butterfly from "Glow-Mellow-Flow" CD/LP 1999? (Columbia Japan)

Black Star - Little Brother from "The Hurricane (Soundtrack)" CD/LP 2000 (MCA)
Brand New Heavies - Sometimes (Remix), Saturday Night (Remix) from "Trunk Funk Classics" CD/LP 2000 (Delicious Vinyl)
Busta Rhymes - Enjoy Da Ride, Live It Up, Show Me What You Got from "Anarchy" CD/LP 2000 (Elektra)
Common - 10 tracks from "Like Water For Chocolate" CD/LP 2000 (MCA)
Common - The Light (Remix) from "Bamboozled (Soundtrack)" 2000 (Motown)
D'Angelo - various tracks from Voodoo CD/LP 2000 (Virgin)
De La Soul - Thru Ya City from "Art Official Intelligence: Mosaic Thump" CD/LP 2000 (Tommy Boy)
Erykah Badu - Cleva, My Life, Didn't Cha Know, Kiss Me On My Neck from "Mama's Gun CD/LP 2000 (Motown)
Frank N Dank - Me & My Man/Love (A Thing Of The Past) 12" single 2000 (McNasty)
Frank N Dank - Everybody Get Up/Give It Up Pt. 2 12" single 2000 (McNasty)
Guru feat. Bilal - Certified from "Guru's Jazzmatazz Street Soul" CD/LP 2000 (Virgin)
Innerzone Orchestra - People Make The World Go Round (J-88 Mix) - 12" single 2000 (Planet E)
Phife Dawg - Bend Ova, 4 Horseman from "Ventilation: Da LP" CD/LP 2000 (Groove Attack)
Phife Dawg - Ya Heard Me from "Definition of Ill Compilation" 2000 bootleg
Royce Da 5'9" - Let's Grow from "Lyricist Lounge Volume 2" CD/LP 2000 (Rawkus)
Spacek - Eve (Remix) 12" single 2000 (Blue)

Bahamadia- One-4-Teen (Remix)
from "Summer Sampler" CD 2001 (Goodvibe)
Bilal - Reminisce from "1st Born Second LP" CD/LP 2001 (Interscope)
Busta Rhymes - Genesis, Make It Hurt from "Genesis" CD/LP 2001 (Elektra)
Chino XL - Don't Say A Word from "I Told You So" CD/LP 2001 (Metro Records)
De La Soul - Peer Pressure (Intro & Outro Monologues by Jay Dee) from AOI: Bionix CD/LP 2001 (Tommy Boy)
Lucy Pearl - Without You (Remix) 12" single 2001 (Pookie/Virgin)
Mos Def - Can U C The Pride In The Panther? (Remix) 12" Single 2001 (Interscope)
Que D - In Yo Face from "Still Bangin" 12" single 2001 (Up Above) and "Que D Limited Edition" CD 2003 (Royal Flyness)
Toshi Kubota - Nothin But Your Love (Remix) 12" single 2001 (Epic)

Big Tone - Party Crasher (mixed by Jay Dee) from Party Crasher 12" Antidote 2002
Busta Rhymes - It Ain't Safe No More, What Up, Turn Me Up Some from "It Ain't Safe No More..." CD/LP 2002 (Elektra)
Common - various production & instrumental credits from "Electric Circus" CD/LP 2002 (MCA)
DJ Jazzy Jeff - Are You Ready (with Slum Village) from "The Magnificent" 12" EP 2002 (BBE)
Frank N Dank - Push 12" EP 2002 (Mummy / Groove Attack)
Phat Kat - Dedication To The Suckers, Don't Nobody Care About Us, Microphone Master, Big Booties, World Premier from "Dedication To The Suckers" LP/CD 2002 (RonnieCash.com)
Slum Village - Hoes, Let's, One from "Trinity" CD/LP 2002 (Capitol)
Talib Kweli - Where Do We Go, Stand To The Side from "Quality" CD/LP 2002 (Rawkus)

ASD (Afrob & Samy Deluxe) - Komm Schon from "Wer Hatte Das Gedacht?" CD/LP 2003 (Eimsbush)
ASD (Afrob & Samy Deluxe) - Wenn Ihr Fuhlt...
from "Hey Du" 12" EP 2003 (Eimsbush)
Common - Come Close "Remix" (Closer)
12" single 2003 (MCA)
De La Soul - Much More/Shoomp 12" single 2003 (AOI)
Fourtet - As Serious As Your Life (Remix) 12" single 2003 Domino
Frank N Dank - 48 Hours CD 2003 (Bootleg)
Vivian Green - Fanatic (Remix) 12" Single 2003 (Sony)
Phat Kat - Dedication 2004, Destiny, Big Booties from "The Undeniable LP: Detroit Edition" CD/LP 2003 Barak Records
Que D - Supa Shit 12" single 2003 (Royal Flyness)
Royce Da 5'9" - Life Goes On from "Build & Destroy: Lost Sessions Part 1" 2003 (Trouble Records)
Subtitle - Mark Luv Mixtape Song from "Greatest Hi$$" CD 2003 (Marks03 Recordings)
T-Love - When You're Older, Who Smoked Sunshine, Chiquita, Long Way Back from "The Long Way Back" 2003 (Pickininny)

5 Ela - Scenario 2004 from "The EP" 2004 (5 Elements)
Amp Fiddler - You Play Me, Waltz Of A Ghetto Fly from "Waltz Of A Ghetto Fly" CD/LP 2004 (Genuine/PIAS)
Amp Fiddler - I Believe In You (Jaylib Mix) CD/12" single 2004 (Genuine/PIAS)
Brother Jack McDuff - Oblighetto (J Dilla Remix) from "Blue Note Revisted" CD/LP 2004 (Blue Note)
De La Soul - Verbal Clap, Much More from "Grind Date" CD/LP (Sanctuary)
DJ Cam - Love Junkee (Remix) 12" single 2003 (Inflamable) and "Liquid Hip Hop CD/LP 2004 (Inflamable)
Elzhi - Days and Nights, Concrete Eyes, Love It Here, and Look At My Friends from "Witness My Growth" Mix CD 2004 (Libido Speedo)
Frank-N-Dank - Let's Go, Okay, MCA from "Xtended Play" CD/LP 2004 (Needillworks)
Lawless Element - The Shining 12" single 2004 (RMR/Fat Beats)
Oh No - Move from The Disrupt CD/LP 2004, and The Disrupt Instrumentals LP 2005 (Stones Throw)
Proof of D12 - Bring It 2 Me from "I Miss The Hip Hop Shop" CD/LP 2004 (Iron Fist)
Prozack - Leisure Rules from "Death, Taxes, and Prozack" CD 2004 (Outofwork Records)
Slum Village - Do You from "Detroit Deli" CD/LP 2004 (Barak/Capitol)

Common - Love is..., It's Your World (Part 1 & 2) from "Be" CD/LP and "Be Instrumentals" LP 2005 (GOOD Music/Geffen)
Common - The Movement from "NBA 2K6 - The Tracks" CD/LP 2005 (Decon)
Dwele - Keep On from "Some Kinda" CD/LP 2005 (Virgin)
Dwight Trible & The Life Force Trio - Antiquity from "Love Is The Answer" CD/LP 2005 (Ninja Tune)
MED - Push feat. J Dilla 12" single 2005 (Stones Throw)
MED - Push
, So Real from "Push Comes To Shove" CD/LP 2005 (Stones Throw)
Moka Only - One Time from "The Desired Effect" CD/LP 2005 (Nettwerk)
Oh No - Move Part 2 feat. J Dilla & Roc C 12" single 2005 (Stones Throw)
Slum Village - Who Are We from "Prequel To A Classic" CD 2005 (Barak Records)
Spacek - Dollar 12" single 2005 (Sound in Color)
Spacek - Dollar
from "Space Shift" CD/LP 2005 (Sound in Color)

Q is a Denver, Colarado based journalist. He blogs at Qsviews.com

How J Dilla Influenced Hip Hop

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